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Authors' Class Standing

Daniel King, Junior Kyle Higgins, Junior

Lead Presenter's Name

Kyle Higgins

Faculty Mentor Name

Dr. Emily Faulconer

Abstract

Most of the Manatees that exist in the United States are found in the waters of Florida, and some call home right here in Volusia County. This beautiful animal however is among those on the endangered species list. Just recently in 2013, record number 829 deaths were reported, according to National Geographic and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and 317 in 2014. Most of these deaths can be attributed to pollution and injuries sustained by passing boats. However, there is a majority of these deaths that may be related to the high values of total N levels that are evident in the vast amounts of algae that have accumulated recently. These high levels of N come from sewage treatment centers, excess fertilizers, and high levels of human and animal waste. Natural levels of N exists in a balanced ecosystem, but these higher than normal values that enrich the local environment abnormally, known as eutrophication, can be extremely toxic to the manatees. The purpose of this project is to bring awareness to the local community of this issue by conducting cooperative research with Marine Science Center and displaying an informative awareness sign with the cooperation of the Halifax Harbor Marina.

Did this research project receive funding support (Spark or Ignite Grants) from the Office of Undergraduate Research?

Yes

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King-Higgins Project | Protecting our local Manatees

Most of the Manatees that exist in the United States are found in the waters of Florida, and some call home right here in Volusia County. This beautiful animal however is among those on the endangered species list. Just recently in 2013, record number 829 deaths were reported, according to National Geographic and the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, and 317 in 2014. Most of these deaths can be attributed to pollution and injuries sustained by passing boats. However, there is a majority of these deaths that may be related to the high values of total N levels that are evident in the vast amounts of algae that have accumulated recently. These high levels of N come from sewage treatment centers, excess fertilizers, and high levels of human and animal waste. Natural levels of N exists in a balanced ecosystem, but these higher than normal values that enrich the local environment abnormally, known as eutrophication, can be extremely toxic to the manatees. The purpose of this project is to bring awareness to the local community of this issue by conducting cooperative research with Marine Science Center and displaying an informative awareness sign with the cooperation of the Halifax Harbor Marina.