Manatee Manatee
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Tracking the Trackers for 2004

We want to introduce you to the actual scientists who are tracking the five manatees in this year's 2004 Journey North program, and also send our thanks to them in advance for generously sharing their data, information and expertise with us throughout the season.

Susan Butler, Jim Reid, Bob Bonde, and Cathy Beck are biologists with the U.S.G.S.Florida Caribbean Science Center's Sirenia Project, a federal program initiated in 1974 to conduct detailed life history studies on the endangered manatee.

Thanks to Susan, Jim, Bob and Cathy, you can look at the latest data on the manatees we are tracking.

Meet The Manatee Scientists:

Meet Susan Butler
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Meet Jim Reid
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Susan Butler will be our primary contact this year, and she has been with the Sirenia Project since 1994, radiotracking tagged manatees and photographing scarred individuals statewide. Susan spends a large amount of time in the field, and also has the primary duty of tag construction.Tag construction entails fitting the VHF and satellite transmitters, sonic beacon, and battery pack into the special housing that together are the "tag" that we deploy on these manatees.  She also color codes and numbers each tag for easy field identification. She is the one who actually "builds" the belts too, and assures that they are sized precisely for each manatee.  Susan is married and has 2 children, Jeffrey and Hannah.  Her family enjoys the company of 3 geckos, a turtle, lots of fish, and hiking and camping together.

Jim Reid has conducted extensive research in Puerto Rico, radiotracking manatees and surveying seagrass habitats. He also is the Project's Argos program coordinator. Jim is married and has three dogs and one cat. He enjoys hiking, biking, sailing, kayaking, SCUBA diving, wind surfing, water and snow skiing, and other perilous activities.

Jim and Bob both have extensive experience in radio-telemetry techniques, including both VHF and satellite-monitored tracking of manatees. They both also are accomplished swimmers and photographers of wild manatees, often finding it necessary to immerse themselves in their work in order to photograph or tag manatees!

Bob Bonde also has 23 years of experience in manatee and whale necropsy studies, and is the Large Whale Necropsy Team Leader for the National Marine Fisheries Service. He has flown over 38,000 miles of aerial surveys looking for manatees in Florida, Puerto Rico, Belize, Mexico, and Panama.

Cathy Beck manages the Manatee Individual Photo-identification System (MIPS), a computerized photographic catalog that currently includes 1,400 wild manatees, with information on each individual's travels and behaviors. She also is involved in manatee food habits, vegetation and parasite studies.

Meet Cathy Beck
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Bob Bonde
(Was busy "in the Field". We'll catch him next time!)

Bob and Cathy are married and have a son, Michael, a daughter, Julie, one dog, Copper, and one cat, Dusky. They enjoy outdoor activities, traveling, gardening, and collecting books and beanie babies (-:

Brought To You By
Thanks also to Service ARGOS, the technology company that manages the ARGOS satellite system that is used to receive and organize the tracking data from thetransmitters.

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