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Detection of manatee feeding events by animal-borne underwater sound recorders

Published online by Cambridge University Press:  13 November 2013

Mumi Kikuchi*
Affiliation:
National Research Institute of Fisheries Engineering, Fisheries Research Agency, Hasaki, Kamisu, Ibaraki 314-0408, Japan Japan Science and Technology Agency, CREST, Gobancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 102-0075, Japan
Tomonari Akamatsu
Affiliation:
National Research Institute of Fisheries Engineering, Fisheries Research Agency, Hasaki, Kamisu, Ibaraki 314-0408, Japan Japan Science and Technology Agency, CREST, Gobancho, Chiyoda-ku, Tokyo, 102-0075, Japan
Daniel Gonzalez-Socoloske
Affiliation:
University Program in Ecology, Duke University, Durham, North Carolina 27708, USA
Diogo A. de Souza
Affiliation:
Aquatic Mammals Laboratory, National Institute of Amazonian Research, 69060-001, Manaus, Brazil
Leon D. Olivera-Gomez
Affiliation:
División Académica de Ciencias Biológicas, Universidad Juárez Autónoma de Tabasco, Tabasco, 86150, Mexico
Vera M. F. da Silva
Affiliation:
Aquatic Mammals Laboratory, National Institute of Amazonian Research, 69060-001, Manaus, Brazil
*
Correspondence should be addressed to: M. Kikuchi, National Research Institute of Fisheries Engineering, Fisheries Research Agency, Hasaki, Kamisu, Ibaraki 314-0408, Japan email: mumi@cocoa.plala.or.jp

Abstract

Studies of the feeding behaviour of aquatic species in their natural environment are difficult, since direct observations are rarely possible. In this study, a newly developed animal-borne underwater sound recorder (AUSOMS-mini) was applied to captive Amazonian (Trichechus inunguis) and Antillean (Trichechus manatus manatus) manatees in order to directly record their feeding sounds. Different species of aquatic plants were offered to the manatees separately. Feeding sounds were automatically extracted using a custom program developed with MATLAB. Compared to ground truth data, the program correctly detected 65–79% of the feeding events, with a 7.3% or lower false alarm rate, which suggests that this methodology is a useful recorder of manatee feeding events. All manatees foraged during both the daytime and night-time. However, manatees tended to be less active and masticated slower during the night than during the day. The manatee mastication cycle duration depended on plant species and individual. This animal-borne acoustic monitoring system could greatly increase our knowledge of manatee feeding ecology by providing the exact time, duration and number of feeding events, and potentially the plant species being fed on.

Type
Research Article
Copyright
Copyright © Marine Biological Association of the United Kingdom 2013 

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