On Manatee Appreciation Day, we share five interesting facts about this unique marine mammal.
- Manatees’ health serves as an indicator of overall ecological and marine well-being. These plant-eating mammals help ensure vegetative balance in ecosystems.
- Manatees love to sleep! They will often sleep underwater for half a day, only resurfacing for 20-minute oxygen intervals.
- Manatees are very curious and have been known to approach boats.
- Manatees are known as “sea cows”.
- Manatees generally only breed once every two years, giving birth to a single calf.
NEW RESEARCH: Scientists from US Geological Survey have developed the first laboratory test that picks up traces of manatees’ genetic material in waterways where they live. Using a water sample collected in the field, the groundbreaking environmental DNA test can reveal whether one or more of the elusive marine mammals has been in the area within the past month.”By combining new advances in eDNA work with other techniques, we’re getting a more complete picture of these wild populations, without disturbing them”, says USGS research geneticist Margaret Hunter.