Skip to main content
Scenes from The University of Rhode Island

URI Graduate School of Oceanography lecture sounds off on Florida manatees

Media Contact:

Narragansett, RI—October 6, 2004--The Florida manatee is regularly exposed to high volumes of vessel traffic and other human-related noise pollutants because of their coastal distribution. One of the most pressing concerns associated with the endangered Florida manatee is mortality due to collisions with watercraft. Watercraft collisions are the leading identified cause of adult mortality, resulting in greater than 30% of manatee deaths each year.

URI Graduate School of Oceanography (GSO) Ph.D. candidate Jennifer Miksis is studying the problems associated with the survival of the Florida manatees and will discuss her research in a free, public lecture on “How Manatees Respond to Environmental Noise.” The lecture will take place on Thursday, October 14, at noon in the Coastal Institute Auditorium, URI Bay Campus, Narragansett. The event is sponsored by URI Friends of Oceanography.

Miksis’s lecture will focus on how reducing adult mortalities is critical to the recovery of the manatee population, as population trends are more sensitive to adult deaths than to those of other age groups. Quantifying specific aspects of the manatees’ acoustic environment will allow for a better understanding of how these animals are responding to both natural and human induced changes in their environment.

A native of Cherry Hill, New Jersey, Miksis received a B.A. in biology from Harvard University and an M.S. from the University of Massachusetts at Dartmouth. Under the guidance of her major professors, Dr. Percy Donaghay, URI Graduate School of Oceanography, and Dr. Jim Miller, URI Department of Ocean Engineering, her research interests include marine mammal cognition and communication. She is working on her doctoral dissertation entitled “Manatee response to habitat variations and human activity: The effects of physical environment covariates.”

The lecture is free and open to the public. For more information, 874-6642.