Xeiwsletter of the TJUCCF/SSC
Strenia Specialist group
IN THIS ISSUE:
DO WNLISTING THE FLORIDA MANA TEE FROM
ENDANGERED TO THREATENED STATUS: TWO
VIEWPOINTS (p. 4)
DISCUSSIONS ON EFFECTIVE MANAGEMENT OF DUGONGS
AND MANATEES (p. 6, 11)
THE VALLEY OF THE SIRENS
A Tribute to the Work of World Class Paleontologist, Dr. Daryl P. Domning
Situated high in the French Alps, surrounded by mountains and foliage, a unique
fossil site lays undisturbed for 40 million years. It was first mentioned in 1938 by Albert
de Lapparent, a geologist working near the town of Castellane, who discovered marine
mammal bones in a ravine. At this time, Castellanes' sirens were called
In 1994, the Reserve Naturelle Geologigue in Haute Provence, invited Dr. Daryl
Domning from Howard University, Washington, DC, to excavate this site. Dr. Domning
and his students worked two years on this project and what resulted from intense hard
work is a magnificent, one-of-a-kind Dugong experience. There is nothing in the world
like this and for those of you who are not familiar with this special place, I would like to
share my experience with biologists, scientists and all sirenian lovers.
Id "m Lkw
UNION INTERNATIONAL POUR LA CONSERVATION DE LA NATURE ET DE SES RESOURCES
INTERNATIONAL UNION FOR CONSERVATION OF NATURE AND NATURAL RESOURCES
Commission de la sauvegarde des especes-Species Survival Commission
Sirenews (ISSN 1017-3439) appears twice a year in
April and October and is edited by Cynthia R. Taylor and James A. Powell,
Wildlife Trust, 1601 3rd Street S., Suite F, St. Petersburg, FL 33701 USA.
It is currently supported by the U.S. Marine Mammal Commission. Sirenews is
available online at Sirenian International (www.sirenian.org) and the
Society for Marine Mammalogy (www.marinemammalogy.org).
The site is located in the Ravine de Tabori, in the area of Taulanne, near a
mountain pass (Col de Leques) in Haute Provence, the French Alps. Thirty minutes away
is the picturesque town of Castellane. Dr. Domning and his esteemed colleagues from
the Reserve Geologigue created a museum called the "Maison des Sirenes and
Direnians". It is situated in the town square next to the post office. Painted on top of the
post office are pictures of dugongs and mermaids. The museum has a wonderful
interpretive exhibit about the site and the history of the siren or mermaid which is shown
through a collection of Greek vases, old books, posters and sculpture. The exhibit is both
visual and educational and many scientists contributed to the research. I found the
following quite fascinating.
The siren was first found in Homer's Odyssey (720 BC). He wrote "First you will
come to the sirens, enchanting all who come near them". "The maiden of the sea" and
the "siren" came together in the seventh century, not in a beautiful way, but in a Book of
Monsters. The author argues that sirens are women with a fishtail "who lure men with
their voice and their beauty." During his first voyage, Christopher Columbus saw three
"sirens". He used the word "siren" to designate a heavy animal, the peaceful manatee
which has been taken as a mermaid for hundreds of years. The myth of the "siren" has
given its name to a group of aquatic mammals call the Sirenians. For the most part,
sirens were associated with pretty women with fishtails emanating mystery, eroticism and
There is a section which describes the fossil site with a short animated film,
tracing the dugong from birth to death. There is a life size dugong; a replica of the
dugongs that lived here and, finally, we are brought to the modem day manatee, living in
Florida (Trichechus manatus). There is an excellent exhibit using films and photos,
documenting the perils with which the manatee lives. These include boat hits, habitat
destruction, pollution and red tide.
I left the museum with great anticipation to see the site. As I drove higher into the
mountains, I kept mulling over what I had just learned. Europe was covered by the
Tethys Sea 40 million years ago. The Tethys Sea extended from the Far East through the
Alpine area to the Caribbean. Dugongidae (Cocene) were ubiquitous throughout the
coastal zones for millions of years. The Castellane Sirenian (Cosiren) lived near a rocky
coast scattered with inlets. They lived in clear and tropical sea water grazing sea grass,
resting and playing.
I parked my car and continued up the mountain on foot. I was surrounded with
rocks, brush, trees, and not a drop of water. It was a bizarre feeling, hiking to an area
once covered by water, yet now mountainous and so high up.
And there it was! Hundreds of Sirenian fossils in situ! Rare and intact, full
skeletons, ribs, heads, all covered with thick bullet-proof glass to prevent vandalism. I
was in awe; I actually could not move for an instant. Viewing this is an indescribable
feeling 40 million years old, pink fossil bones petrified by fluids due to the presence of
a phosphate compound. There was a rib, deeply imbedded in the rock; it was outside the
glass protection. I touched it and could only imagine that this animal was swimming in
this area, living its life and now a fossil, probably buried in mud and perfectly preserved.
Why did this animal become extinct? How long were they there? I immediately e-
mailed Dr. Domning and here are his answers:
Sirenews No. 46
"As to your questions: There's no telling how long the sirenians had been
using that particular embayment, or how long they'd been in the region -
probably millions of years. There wasn't just one storm recorded at that
site, but probably a long series of them (not to mention ones that weren't
recorded in the fossil record); and the storms weren't the cause of the
sirenians' extinction, just an ordinary part of their lives and deaths, as is the
case with sirenians today. The Taulanne sirenians probably didn't even
become extinct biologically, only taxonomically; they probably evolved into
another species (Hallitherium schinzii) that lived throughout Europe for
millions of years more. Yes, it's the same Tethys seaway that extended
from the Far East through the Alpine region, and even to the present
Caribbean. Today, natural disasters (including typhoons, red tides, and cold
snaps) are a part of the problems of sirenians and all other species, but added
to these problems now are the mortality and habitat destruction caused by
humans. These combined stresses can easily push a species over the edge
when the natural catastrophes alone wouldn't have. The sirenians are
certainly not out of the woods yet, and won't be as long as we continue to
overpopulate the planet."
"One new development: Taulanne sirenians were given a new name
(Halitherium taulannense) by Claire Sagne in 2001. They are now seen as
evolutionary intermediates between other Eocene seacows and Halitherium
schinzii, the common early Oligocene European sirenian. So, that's a real
advance in our knowledge.
Amateur collectors and fossil dealers have taken a substantial quantity of
sirenian bones from that site in past years; it would be interesting to know if
that is still going on. I discovered recently that a "skeleton" from that site
(some bone, a lot of plaster) was collected in 1992 and sold by a German
dealer as far away as Tokyo, where it now resides in the National Science
Thank you, Dr. Domning, your students and your colleagues who helped make this site a
dugong wonder of the world and an achievement for present and future generations to
enjoy. For me, my visit was an honor and a privilege. -Lynda Green
1st SYMPOSIUM FOR THE BIOLOGY AND CONSERVATION OF ANTILLEAN
MANATEE (Trichechus manatus manatus) IN MESOAMERICA
The first symposium for the biology and conservation of Antillean manatee in
Mesoamerica will be held on 1-2 November, 2006 during the X Congress of the
Mesoamerican Society for Biology and Conservation (SMBC) in Antigua, Guatemala.
Sirenews No. 46
1. The purpose of this symposium is to update the current knowledge about the
status and distribution of Antillean Manatee in Mesoamerica (Mexico, Guatemala,
Belize, Honduras, Nicaragua, Costa Rica, and Panama). Representatives from
each country will be invited to present a 20 minute presentation on the status and
distribution within their country.
2. The second purpose of the meeting is so that those working with manatees in
Mesoamerica can all meet and begin to collaborate in larger region-wide projects
such as fine scale DNA collection and coordinated aerial surveys.
3. Finally, the symposium will be a place were new students and scientist in the field
of sirenian work can interact with the more experienced ones and learn from their
experiences. Potential for brief training in sonar use, DNA collection, and tagging
and tracking might be available.
The call for abstracts closed on 5 September 2006. To participate in this symposium you
must register for the congress. For more information please go to
Principal organizers of the conference are Daniel Gonzalez-Socoloske
(email@example.com), Leon David Olivera-Gomez (firstname.lastname@example.org),
and Ester Quintana-Rizzo (email@example.com).
DOWNLISTING THE FLORIDA MANATEE FROM ENDANGERED TO
THREATENED STATUS: TWO VIEWPOINTS
Unwarranted State Action Puts Manatees In Clear and Future Danger. Despite
growing threats to the manatee's long-term survival and overwhelming public opposition,
the Florida Fish and Wildlife Commission (FWC) recently voted to prematurely downlist
manatees from Endangered to Threatened. This decision plays right into the hands of
those who want to exploit manatee habitat for development and high-speed recreation.
Even though the state found that the manatee population could be reduced by as
much as 50% in the future and that manatees meet the federal and World Conservation
Union's (IUCN) definition for Endangered, manatees no longer qualify for state
Endangered status because the FWC arbitrarily changed its listing/delisting rules by
adopting the IUCN criteria for Endangered and then calling it Threatened.
Thirty conservation and animal welfare organizations representing millions of
Americans around the nation urged FWC to fix its imperiled species classification system
to properly align it with IUCN's. Thirty-nine manatee and dugong scientists from
numerous countries around the world sent a letter in opposition to the manatee's
downlisting. And people from all over the nation called the agency in protest, while
hundreds more attended the Commission meeting. Out of scores of speakers at this
meeting, only a handful of development, marine industries' and go-fast boaters' lobbyists
spoke out in favor of downlisting manatees to Threatened!
Further, 17 organizations filed a legal petition asking the FWC to fix its imperiled
species classification system. But, in the end, none of it mattered to the Commissioners.
Sirenews No. 46
The FWC insists protections won't change, but a review of Florida law shows
Endangered species are afforded more protection than Threatened species.
The Commission claims their Management Plan will protect manatees. However,
Florida's Legislature will be pressured to reduce FWC's authority and funding to protect
manatees. This will undermine the implementation of the Plan, and prevent real
The FWC and Governor Bush are declaring this a victory for manatees but the
facts show otherwise. The agency claims that the manatee population is growing, yet a
state report shows that only the 2 smallest subpopulations clearly show growth.
Together, these 2 subpopulations only account for 16% of the manatee population. Based
upon the latest peer reviewed information, the largest subpopulation on the Atlantic coast
shows a probable decline of about 3% per year over the last five years. The Southwest
subpopulation is already in decline. Manatees continue to die from boat strikes in near-
record numbers and there has been a 17% increase in manatee mortality from boat
collisions over the last 5 year period as compared to the previous 5 year period!
Please ask yourself, can all of the organizations representing hundreds of
thousands of Florida citizens and millions more people nationwide who have shared their
concerns over the new listing process be wrong? I urge the Commission to take a step
back from the situation and think about the repercussions to manatees and many other
imperiled species if we are right and they are wrong. The consequences will be
disastrous. If we are wrong and they are right, then no harm will have been done.
In the meantime manatees' projected loss of winter habitat could cause
catastrophic future losses.
This is no time for celebration! -Pat Rose, Save the Manatee Club
Experts Agree: Manatees Not In Imminent Danger of Extinction. The Florida
Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission voted on June 7, 2006 to designate the
manatee as having a very high risk of extinction. In Florida we call that level of
imperilment threatened. The proposed reclassification is to move the manatee from
endangered status which the state defines as an imminent danger of extinction. Judging
from media coverage and comments from some stakeholder groups, this reclassification
is widely misunderstood.
The FWC use guidelines for classifying species based on International Union for
the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) standards. The scientific community worldwide has
tested these guidelines. In fact, at least 30 countries are using IUCN standards as the
basis for their own imperiled species classification process. One of the strengths of the
Florida system is that it uses measurable criteria and has multiple levels of independent
review. A Biological Review Panel (BRP) carefully reviewed the best available data in
reaching a unanimous conclusion that the manatee should be listed as threatened. The
work of this BRP was then reviewed by a panel of independent scientists.
Some have suggested that the work of the BRP was unfairly bound by the state's
system itself- that these experts simply did the "math" but were using a flawed system.
However, the state system allows for the BRP to make a recommendation to move a
species up or down one level independent of the specific mathematical criteria. In other
words, the system allows for a listing "trump card" if the BRP feels there are special or
unique circumstances. Yet the BRP members, with years of expertise in manatee
Sirenews No. 46
biology, ecology, and management, did not play the "trump card." Instead, they voted
unanimously that the manatee should be classified at the state's threatened level.
As someone who grew up in Florida and has worked professionally on manatees
for over twenty years it comes as no surprise to me that the manatee should no longer be
classified as endangered (defined as imminent danger of extinction). It is clear that there
are more manatees in Florida today then when some the pioneers of manatee research
(Daniel Hartman, Buddy Powell, Dan Odell, and Tom O'Shea to name a few) did much
of their groundbreaking work in the 1970s and 1980s. The best available science today
indicates that even in the most recent ten year period manatee populations continue to
grow or are at least stable in three of four regions of the state. The definition of imminent
extinction just does not fit the manatee in Florida.
On the other hand, irrespective of statements by some groups and individuals, the
reclassification proposal does not signal that manatees are fully recovered. While trends
have been encouraging, the long-term risk is still high. Accordingly, the state system has
yet one more safeguard. The manatee will not actually be reclassified from endangered
to threatened until a manatee management plan is approved by the Commission. This
management plan will be a blueprint of what needs to be done in order to keep the
manatee population moving towards recovery. It will insure that the change in
classification will not mean a reduction in protection. The management plan is being
drafted and will be available for public review later this year. It is hoped that the plan
will be ready for Commission consideration in early 2007. -Kipp Frohlich, Florida Fish
and Wildlife Conservation Commission
NEW YORK TIMES MANATEE ARTICLE
An interesting article about manatees appeared in the August 29, 2006 edition of
the New York Times. The article can be accessed at: http://www.nytimes.com/2006/08/
Is Dugong Management in the Coastal Waters of Urban Queensland Effective
Species Conservation? Attention is increasingly focused on measuring the effectiveness
of conservation measures. The arrangements introduced to ameliorate human impacts on
dugongs in the 12.50 latitude of coastal waters off Queensland, Australia, include:
banning the dugong oil industry in the 1960s; establishing the world's most extensive
network of ecosystem-scale Marine Protected Areas; controls on fisheries, shark netting,
vessel movements and speeds; phasing out the use of high explosives in the Great Barrier
Reef region; partnerships with Traditional Owners to manage Indigenous hunting; and
initiatives to improve water quality. Since the mid 1980s, aerial surveys of dugong
distribution and abundance have monitored the species conservation outcomes of these
initiatives. The surveys suggest that dugong numbers are now stable at the scale of the
entire urban coast although populations fluctuate at the level of individual bays, probably
largely due to changes in seagrass habitats. However, it is impossible to evaluate the
cumulative success of the management initiatives because policy is silent on whether
Sirenews No. 46
population maintenance or recovery is the management objective. The results indicate
the importance of: (1) developing cross-jurisdictional objectives for management at
ecosystem scales, and (2) co-coordinating management at both culturally and
ecologically relevant scales. -- Helene Marsh, Ivan Lawler, Amanda Hodgson, and
Alana Grech (School of Tropical Environment Studies and Geography, James Cook
University, Douglas, Townsville, 4811 and Marine and Tropical Scientific Research
Facility P.O. Box 2320, Townsville, 4810, Australia).
Recent publications from the James Cook University group
Grech A. and H. Marsh. (in press). Prioritising areas for dugong conservation in a marine
protected area using a spatially explicit population model. Applied GIS.
Hodgson A. and H. Marsh. (in press). Response of dugongs to boat traffic: the risk of
disturbance and displacement. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and
Marsh, H., A. Dennis, H. Hines, A. Kutt, K. McDonald, E. Weber, S. Williams, J.
Winter. (in press). Optimising the allocation of management resources to species
of wildlife. Conservation Biology.
Sheppard J., I. R. Lawler, and H. Marsh. (in press). A seagrass meadow as pasture for
seacows: landscape-level dugong habitat evaluation. Coastal and Estuarine
Aragones L., I. R. Lawler, W. J. Foley, and H. Marsh. 2006. The effects of dugong
grazing and turtle cropping on nutritional characteristics of tropical seagrasses.
Oecologia. Epub ahead of print.
Kwan D., H. Marsh, and S. Delean. 2006. Factors affecting the customary hunting of a
threatened marine mammal by a remote Indigenous community. Environmental
Conservation 33: 164-171.
Lawler I. R., L. Aragones, N. Berding, H. Marsh, and W. J. Foley. 2006. Near Infra Red
Spectroscopy is a rapid cost effective predictor of sea grass nutrients. Journal of
Chemical Ecology. 32: 1353-1365.
Pollock K., H. Marsh, I. Lawler, and M. Alldredge. 2006. Modelling availability and
perception processes for strip and line transects: an application to dugong aerial
surveys. Journal of Wildlife Management 70:255-262.
Sheppard J., A. R. Preen, H. Marsh, I. R. Lawler, S. Whiting, and R. E. Jones.
Movement heterogeneity of dugongs, Dugong dugon (Miuller) over large spatial
scales. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 334(2006):64-83.
Chilvers B. L., I. R. Lawler, F. Macknight, H. Marsh, M. Noad, and R. Paterson. 2005.
Moreton Bay, Queensland, Australia: an example of the co-existence of
significant marine mammal populations and large-scale coastal development.
Biological Conservation 122: 559-571.
Fernandes L., J. Day, A. Lewis, S. Slegers, B. Kerrigan, D. Breen, D. Cameron, B. Jago,
J. Hall, D. Lowe, J. Innes, J. Tanzer, V. Chadwick, L. Thompson, K. Gorman, M.
Simmons, B. Barnett, K. Sampson, G. De'ath, B. Mapstone, H. Marsh, H.
Possingham, I. Ball, T. Ward, K. Dobbs, J. Zumend, D. Slater, and K. Stapleton.
2005. Establishing representative no-take areas in the Great Barrier Reef: large-
scale implementation of Theory on Marine Protected Areas. Conservation
Biology: 19 1733-1744.
Sirenews No. 46
Havemann P., D. Thiriet, H. Marsh, and C. Jones. 2005. Decolonising conservation?
Traditional use of marine resources agreements and dugong hunting in the Great
Barrier Reef World Heritage Area. Environmental and Planning Law Journal. 22:
Marsh H., G. De'ath, N. Gribble, and B. Lane. 2005. Historical marine population
estimates: Triggers or targets for conservation? The dugong case study.
Ecological Applications 15: 481-492.
Mellors J., M. Waycott, and H. Marsh. 2005. Variation in biogeochemical parameters
across intertidal seagrass meadows in the central Great Barrier Reef region.
Marine Pollution Bulletin 51: 335-342.
PDFs of most of Helene Marsh's publications are on line at http://wAww.locus-
Dugong Survey of Derawan Island and Adang Bay, East Kalimantan,
Indonesia. In Indonesia little scientific information is available on the abundance,
distribution and behavior of dugongs. No accurate data on population size and
distribution are known (Marsh et al., 2002; Dugong Status Report and Action Plan). In
the 1970s the dugong population was estimated to be around 10,000. In 1994, the
population was estimated to be around 1,000. Both population estimates are guesses and
should not be considered as evidence for a decline in the intervening period, although
studies have indicated a dramatic decline in numbers in specific areas such as the Aru
(De longh, 1996). The main research effort to date on dugong-seagrass interactions has
been implemented in the Moluccas province. Dugongs in Indonesia have been
demonstrated to depend very much on intertidal mono-specific seagrass meadows of
Halodule univervis (De longh et al., 1995a,;De longh et al., 1995 b; De longh, 1996a; De
longh, 1996b; De longh et al., 1998). In addition, De longh et al. (2005) recently
reported in Sirenews (No. 45) on dugong seagrass interactions in Balikpapan Bay,
It is concluded that to date very little information is available about the
distribution and population size of dugongs in Indonesia and in East Kalimantan in
particular. Also, there is a strong need for new surveys on distribution, size and threat
status of dugongs in Indonesia, building on the initial status report and action plan of
Marsh et al (2002). Within the framework of our research programme on dugong-
seagrass interactions in East Kalimantan, from 28-30 August 2005 a field survey was
made in the Adang Bay (situated south of Balikpapan Bay), and from 25-30 October
2005 a field visit was made to the Archipelago of Derawan (situated in the northeastern
part of Kalimantan). Adang Bay may provide habitat for dugongs, since it is close
(approximately 80 km) to Balikpapan Bay and the presence of dugongs was previously
reported in the Derawan Archipelago (Kreb and Budiono, 2005).
Survey Derawan Archipelago
In the village of Derawan 16 interviews were conducted with local fishermen in
order to gather information on local knowledge of dugongs. All the interviewees were
living and/or working in the village of Derawan. In addition, during a snorkeling survey
Sirenews No. 46
near the shore of the Island Derawan, a seagrass field dominated by Halodule uninervis
was found. Green turtles were grazing, but no evidence of dugong grazing was observed.
Of all interviewees, 14 (87%) claim to have seen a dugong. Of the people
interviewed, nine have regularly seen a dugong around Derawan Island and 11 people
claim to have also seen dugongs around the other islands. Our initial survey shows that
the presence of a small population of dugongs in the Derawan Island archipelago is
likely, but further evidence needs to be gathered. It is our intention to expand our
research effort to this archipelago, since it seems to be the most intact remaining dugong
habitat in East Kalimantan.
The surroundings of Derawan Island seem to be a suitable habitat for dugongs,
because seagrass beds (H. uninervis) are present in sufficient quantity, local villagers
regularly see dugongs, and the presence of dugongs is also cited in Kreb & Budiono
(2005). This area is approximately 350 km from Balikpapan Bay, and interaction with
dugongs in Balikpapan Bay cannot be excluded since satellite tracking of dugongs in
Indonesia has demonstrated that dugongs migrate substantial distances (De Iongh et al,
Survey Adang Bay
From 28-30 August 2005 a field survey was conducted in Adang Bay, situated in
the south of Balikpapan Bay. Daytime observations for dugongs and seagrass were made
by surveying the shores of the bay in an 7 m engine-powered vessel while taking bottom
samples every 100 meters in order to check for the presence of seagrass. Interviews were
carried out in the village of Pasir Mayang by using a semi-structured interview format. In
total, 11 interviews were held. All the interviewees were living and/ or working in the
area around Adang Bay. Only people who were regularly on the water (fishermen) were
Sediment sampling and interviews all indicated that no extensive seagrass beds
were present in Adang Bay. Four of 11 interviewees claimed they had seen dugongs in
this bay, but since dolphins are very common it is possible that those people confused
dugongs with dolphins. However, we can also not exclude that dugongs occasionally visit
the bay due to the proximity to Balikpapan Bay. The absence of seagrass and lack of
reliable information on dugong presence indicates that Adang Bay is not likely a
favoured habitat for dugongs. -- Hans de Iongh, Marloes Moraal, and Caroline
Souffreau (Institute of Environmental Sciences, Leiden University, POB 9518,2300 RA
De Iongh, H.H., Wenno, B., Bierhuizen, B. & Van Orden, B. 1995a. Aerial survey of
the dugong (Dugong dugon Miuller 1776) in coastal waters of the Lease islands, East
Indonesia. Austr. J. of Freshw. and Mar. Res. 46:759-761.
De Iongh, H.H., Wenno, B. & Meelis, E. 1995b. Seagrass distribution and seasonal
changes in relation to dugong grazing in the Moluccas, East Indonesia. Aquatic Botany
De Iongh, H.H. 1996a. Current status of dugongs in Indonesia. In: The Aru Archipelago:
plants, animals, people and conservation/H.P.Nooteboom (Ed.)-Amsterdam: Nederlandse
Sirenews No. 46
Commissie voor Internationale Natuurbescherming, pp. 75-85.
De Iongh, H.H. 1996b. Plant-herbivore interactions between seagrasses and dugongs in a
tropical small island ecosystem. PhD Thesis, Catholic University Nijmegen, 205 p.
De Iongh, H.H., P.Langeveld, P. and van der Wal, M. 1998. Movement and home ranges
of dugongs around the Lease islands, East Indonesia. Marine Ecology, 19 (3):179-193.
De Iongh, H.H., Van Esch, W. and Cruz, E. 2005. Recent developments in dugong
research in Balikpapan Bay, Indonesia. Sirenews No. 45, p 21-23.
Kreb D. & Budiono. 2005. Cetacean diversity and habitat preferences in tropical water of
East Kalimantan, Indonesia. The Raffles Bulletin of Zoology 53 (1): 149-155.
Marsh, H., Penrose, H., Eros, C. and Hugues, J. 2002. The dugong (dugong dugon) status
report and action plans for countries and territories in its range. UNEP Early warning and
assessment report series 1: pp 162.
Rotational grazing by dugongs in Indonesian coastal waters. Research on
dugong-seagrass interactions in Indonesia was implemented from 1990 through 2005 in
East Am, Maluku Tenggara and East Kalimantan (De Iongh, 1996). During field
surveys in East Aru in 1990 and 1991, for the first time grazing swards were discovered
showing signs of intensive rotational grazing by dugongs in intertidal inshore Halodule
Aerial surveys in the Lease islands confirmed the presence of a small population
of at most 37 dugongs. Four individual dugongs were tracked with buoyant, tethered
conventional and satellite radio transmitters between 45 and 285 days (De Iongh et al.,
1998). The patterns of movement and the results of snorkelling surveys confirmed a
practice of regular recropping of restricted grazing swards by small feeding assemblages
of dugongs. Dugong grazing in an intertidal seagrass meadow dominated by H. univervis
showed a significant correlation with carbohydrate content of the below-ground biomass
and no significant relation with total N (De Iongh et al., 1995). It was concluded that the
timing of dugong grazing in these intertidal meadows coincides with high below ground
biomass and high carbohydrate content in the rhizomes of H. uninervis in the upper 0-4
cm sediment layer. A small population of at most 12 dugongs was discovered in
Balikpapan Bay during the nineties and research on dugong-seagrass interactions was
carried out during 2000-2005 (De Iongh, 2005, 2006). Similar to the research results of
the Moluccas province, in Balikpapan Bay the timing of intensive dugong grazing in
seven inshore intertidal H .uninervis seagrass beds coincided with high levels of
carbohydrates in the below-ground biomass, while dugongs also showed rotational
grazing in grazing swards.
It is concluded that our research findings support the hypothesis that temporal
dugong grazing in intertidal meadows is ruled by carbohydrate content in below-ground
biomass. The mechanisms of rotational grazing in restricted grazing swards are not yet
well understood, and the maximization of carbohydrates does not fully explain this
phenomenon. Our findings of small herds of dugongs showing rotational grazing inside
Sirenews No. 46
grazing swards exhibit similar characteristics to what Preen (1993, 1995) defined as
cultivation grazing of larger herds of dugongs in coastal waters of Australia. He defined
"cultivation grazing" as intensive grazing by large herds of dugongs in order to keep
seagrass meadows in a pioneer stage. The form of rotational grazing which we observed
in our study areas does not completely meet with the definition of cultivation grazing of
Preen (1993,1995). Dugongs in our study areas graze in much smaller herds and
obviously show rotational grazing inside mono-specific H. univervis meadows, thus
keeping the meadow at a pioneer stage is not a factor of importance. Our research
confirms that intertidal H. univervis seagrass meadows form a crucial resource for
dugong survival. These relatively unknown biotopes need, therefore, more attention in
research and conservation programmes. Hans de Iongh (Institute of Environmental
Sciences, Department of Environment and Development, POB 9518, 2300 RA Leiden,
The Netherlands, tel +31-71-5277431, Iongh@cml.leidenuniv.nl).
De Iongh, H. H., B. Wenno, and E. Meelis. 1995. Seagrass distribution and seasonal
changes in relation to dugong grazing in the Moluccas, East Indonesia. Aquatic Botany
De Iongh, H. H. 1996. Current status of dugongs in Aru, E. Indonesia, In: The Aru
archipelago: Plants, Animals, People and Conservation, Publication No.30 of the
Netherlands Commission for International Nature Protection, H.P. Nooteboom(ed), 75-
De Iongh, H. H., P. Langeveld, and M. van der Wal. 1998. Movement and home ranges
of dugongs around the Lease islands, East Indonesia. Marine Ecology, 19 (3):179-193.
De Iongh, H. H. 2005. Recent research on dugong seagrass interactions in Balikpapan
Bay, Indonesia. Sirenews No. 43, 14-15.
De Iongh, H. H. 2006. Recent developments in dugong research in Balikpapan Bay,
East Kalimantan. Sirenews No. 45, 21-23.
Preen, A. 1993. Interactions between dugongs and seagrasses in a subtropical
environment. PhD Thesis, Department of Zoology, James Cook University of N. Queens-
land, Australia, 392 p.
Preen, A. 1995. Impacts of dugong foraging on seagrass habitats: Observational and
experimental evidence for cultivation grazing. Marine Ecology 124 (1-3):201-213.
Five Years of the Manatee Recovery Plan in Mexico: It Is Time to Evaluate Its
Effectiveness. In 1997 the Ministry of Environment (SEMARNAT) called for the
integration of a Manatee Advisory Committee (STC), which consisted of around 20
technical experts from academic institutions, wildlife managers, and representatives from
government, non governmental and private organizations. Over the course of several
Sirenews No. 46
meetings, steps were taken to prepare a manatee recovery plan which was finally adopted
in 2001. Until 2006, the authority responsible for implementing the recovery plan was
the Department of Wildlife (DGVS). As with many federal agencies, DGVS is
centralized and has limited human and financial resources. Consequently, during the last
five years DGVS has had very limited participation, playing more a role of institutional
In developing countries such as Mexico, allocation of the federal budget follows
other priorities. As environmental professionals, we know we cannot expect to have a
recovery plan funded by SEMARNAT. So, how is the manatee recovery plan being
implemented? We have been working in an "altruist model" of advisory committees
where members not only "steer" the recovery actions but also implement all of them.
Thereby, the STC works also as a recovery team supported by the efforts and funding of
all the volunteer members.
The manatee recovery plan is now five years old. As a founding member of the
recovery team, I consider that the absence of an evaluation framework to assess the
effectiveness of the efforts undertaken so far is problematic. While an informal
mechanism of self-review has been incorporated through recovery team annual meetings,
a more formal scheme for monitoring and measuring the progress is needed. Regular
evaluation in a five-year cycle is required for new knowledge about the status of
manatees in Mexico to be incorporated into the plan. The evaluation framework should
also include an analysis of the appropriateness of objectives, actions implemented and
outcomes. Lessons learned from strengths or weaknesses should be recognized and
collated. This information could be incorporated into the annual report prepared by the
recovery team. Thus, lessons learned from experience of the manatee recovery team
could be disseminated to other recovery teams. A financial summary may also be added
to the evaluation report by tallying all the different sources of funding as a reference for
defining future resource requirements.
In conclusion, I believe that in Mexico we have an outstanding and passionate
group of people collaborating in our recovery team, but as manatee conservationists we
should look forward to seeing if our efforts are effectively assisting the recovery of
manatees from the verge of extinction. --Alejandro Ortega-Argueta (Mexico Manatee
Recovery Team, University of Veracruz, Mexico/University of Queensland, Australia
Behavior of West Indian Manatees (Trichechus manatus) in captivity.
Manatees in captivity represent a great opportunity to study certain behavioral displays.
A goal of this kind of study must be to understand individual reactions against external
factors, as well as reproductive and aggressive performances. In addition, behavioral
observations on captive animals help to improve conditions of captivity. Hence these
studies are important in facilities with captive animals.
On the other hand, controlled conditions help to promote conservation (Portilla-
Ochoa et al., 2002), because care is provided to ill animals (Padilla-Saldivar and
Morales-Vela, 2004), and there is the potential to increase the number of births (for
example see Da Silva, 2004). This study was conducted at "Acuario Veracruz" using
eight captive manatees (four females, three males and one newborn) in well-conditioned
tanks. This Aquarium is visited by numerous tourists throughout the year and provides
Sirenews No. 46
security to keep manatees in a quiet environment (i.e. camera flashes and noise are
restricted in manatee areas). In order to record behavioral data, three observational
periods were established: 0800 0900; 1100 1200; and 1700-1900. Observations were
recorded for 24 days during February, July, and August.
Results were obtained in percentages to determine differences between behaviors.
Due to the confined conditions the activities displayed were conspicuous and restricted.
We divided clearly distinguished behaviors into five categories: sleeping, feeding,
swimming, quiet and other. We found in almost all the animals (with the exception of
two males) statistical differences between the five behaviors in February (ANOVA,
significance p<0.05). During July and August, statistical differences between all five
behaviors were present in all individuals. The behavior displayed most frequently was
swimming during February and July, and sleeping during August. In the case of the
newborn manatee, the most common behavior was sleeping.
These results do not coincide with observations of Cortez-Aguilar et al. (2002).
They reported feeding as the behavior displayed most frequently. Differences between
studies could be due to different study methods and the number of observed individuals.
We suggest that individuals are constantly moving, possibly for high interaction. In
August the manatees spent more time sleeping, perhaps due to the amount of tourists
visiting the Aquarium. In spite of the statistical differences, additional studies of this
type are needed in order to determine the impact of tourism on individual captive
manatees as well as the relationships between individuals in a confined environment.
This work was made possible by the support of the Acuario Veracruz personnel,
in particular Fabian Vayone. P. Zuiniga-Melgar1 and J. Meraz2 (1Biologia Marina,
Universidad del Mar. Mexico; 2Instituto de Recursos, Universidad del Mar. Mexico
Padilla-Saldivar, J., and B. Morales-Vela. 2004. Rehabilitation of manatee calf
(Trichechus manatus) in Chetumal, Quintana Roo, Mexico. Sirenews No. 41:10-11.
Portilla-Ochoa, E., A. Ortega-Argueta, B. E. Cortina-Julio, E. 0. Keith, and F. Vayone-
Lara. 2002. Advances in manatee conservation efforts in Veracruz, Mexico. XXVII
International Meeting for the study of Marine Mammals.
Da Silva, Vera M. F. 2004. New Amazonian manatee captive born. Sirenews No. 41:2.
Dugong Research and Conservation on Mohili Island, Union of the
Comoros. The Comoros Archipelago, consisting of the islands of Grande Comore,
Anjouan, Moheli and Mayotte (France), is located in the western Indian Ocean, between
Madagascar and Mozambique. In the 1970's, dugongs (Dugong dugon) were known to
range throughout the islands. However they are now believed to be very rare and are
thought to occur only in the coastal waters of Moheli and Mayotte. This apparent decline
may be due to a number of causes. The Comoros Islands have experienced, over
Sirenews No. 46
the last few decades, an increase in population size which has resulted in environmental
degradation. Urbanization, poor farming practices and the clearing of coastal and inland
forests and mangrove stands have contributed to a marked increase in coastal erosion,
sedimentation and siltation. These processes may decrease salinity and intensity of light
radiation, both of which are thought to cause a decline in seagrass abundance, thereby
decreasing the sole food source for dugongs.
There is a pressing need for research to be conducted on the dugong in
the Comoros. No up-to-date information currently exists on the distribution of dugongs or
seagrass beds on the island of Moheli. To address this need, a British NGO, "Community
Centered Conservation" (C3), has been working on the island in collaboration with
Moheli Marine Park since May 2006 to establish research, monitoring and
awareness-raising activities for dugong and seagrass conservation. A preliminary
assessment of dugong distribution within Moheli Marine Park was carried out in 2002
through 109 fisher interviews within the 10 villages located inside the Park boundary. C3
has recently replicated this study in 13 villages outside the Park, with a total of
97 fishers interviewed. This survey has recorded a total of 13 dugong sightings since the
beginning of 2006, with 20 sightings being reported for the years 2000 2005. Dugongs
were predominantly sighted in seagrass habitats (51%), with 49% of fishers sighting them
from traditional canoes (pirogues), which are normally confined to coastal
waters (i.e. less than 5km offshore) and cause less disturbance compared to motorized
craft. Most fishers also perceived a recent decline in dugong numbers, although a
considerable number in the northwestern region had never heard of, or seen a dugong
before. There were 14 documented deaths recorded between 1976 and 2005, with 7%
caused by spear gun fishing, 29% by gill net fishing, and the remainder from
unknown causes. It is likely, however, that the main contemporary threat to dugongs is
accidental capture in fishing nets.
To complement the fisher interviews, Dugong Sighting Cards have been
distributed to all of the villages around the island, providing a means for fishers (and
villagers) to record sightings of dugongs in the future. Additionally, data from interviews
within and outside the Marine Park are being combined to identify hotspots of dugong
and seagrass bed distributions. C3 is currently mapping and assessing the species'
composition of seagrass beds around the island, starting in the north western region of
Moimbasa. Seagrass areas will then be identified for quarterly monitoring, and local
communities will be trained in seagrass survey techniques to ensure the long-term
sustainability of the program. C3 has further engaged the community by organizing
awareness-raising events such as the 'Day of the Dugong' in several villages. The fisher
interviews have also assisted in prioritizing certain villages for awareness raising efforts
over the coming months.
C3 aims to expand dugong research onto the islands of Grande Comore and
Anjouan where it will work in collaboration with AIDE (Association d'Intervention pour
le Developpement et l'Environnnement), in order to draw up a comprehensive action plan
for the conservation of the dugong and its associated habitats in the Union of the
Comoros. This work has been generously funded by the BP Conservation Program,
PADI Foundation and Rufford Small Grants for Nature Conservation. -Bjorn Alfthan
and Patricia Davis (Community Centered Conservation (C3), www.c-3.org-uk, info@c-
Sirenews No. 46
Em Perigo. Earthmedia Imaging and Film and Catembe Productions in
association with the Maputo Museum of Natural History are currently producing a film
on the endangered dugongs of the Bazaruto Archipelago in Mozambique. It is a part of a
broad scoping initiative called Em Perigo (Endangered). Em Perigo is a multi-media
education program following the mission of two young Mozambican environmentalists as
they learn about the vast amount of endangered marine life living off the coast of
Mozambique and find out what can be done to save it.
The six films will have English and Portuguese versions with the dugong episode
being translated into Chitswa, the local language in the archipelago. There will be a
printed booklet and structured guides for teachers, community workers and community
General objective: To contribute towards an increased awareness of, and support for, the
conservation and protection of marine resources in Mozambique.
-To encourage Mozambican youth to get involved in science and conservation work and
to make a difference in terms of protecting their countries' marine biodiversity.
-To provide new dynamic tools for education and awareness raising on the endangered
marine fauna of Mozambique.
-To provide a powerful visual tool for schools, community media centers, organizations
and educational institutions involved in environmental conservation work throughout the
We are already shooting high quality sequences of dugongs underwater. Partial
funding has already been secured but we are currently seeking partners to work with us
on the rest of this important initiative. For more information and a full proposal please
contact James Ewen at j firstname.lastname@example.org.
Earthmedia and Catembe Productions are the production companies of two award
winning British filmmakers, James Ewen ("Mangais- Raizes das Mares", Best
environmental education film CINE ECO 2005 Portugal) and Karen Boswall
("Marrabentando", best television documentary for 2005 RTP Portugal). Both long-term
residents in Mozambique and passionate about the environment, this duo have decided to
join forces to co-produce the first ever environmental series made in Mozambique.
-James Ewen (Earthmedia Imaging & Film, 00258 823132450, Maputo, Mozambique
Florida manatee travels to Cape Cod, Massachusetts! Every summer reliable
sightings of Florida manatees in waterways beyond their usual summer range are
reported. However this year, as has happened on only a few previous occasions, these
Sirenews No. 46
sightings were extraordinary in their distance from familiar manatee haunts. On July 11,
2006, a manatee was seen and photographed in Ocean City, Maryland. Many
immediately wondered whether this manatee could be "Chessie", a manatee previously
documented in northeastern US waters. Chessie was rescued from the Chesapeake Bay,
MD, on October 1, 1994, transported to Florida, released with a radio transmitter, and
monitored by the USGS, Sirenia Project for 11 months. During the summer of 1995 he
traveled all the way to Port Judith, RI, before turning back south on 22 August 1995. The
last verified sighting of Chessie was on August 30, 2001 at the Great Bridge Locks in
Virginia (see http://cars.er/usgs.gov/Manatees/Manatee_Sirenia Proj ect/Manatee_
Photographs taken at Ocean City of the most recent wanderer were not adequate
for individual identification. However, more sightings in the Indian River Inlet,
Delaware Bay, Delaware on July 14, in Barnegat Inlet, New Jersey on July 22-23, and in
New York's Hudson River from August 1-8 were reported, spurring our hopes that
Chessie had again made the news. However, without photographs to attempt a match to a
known manatee previously documented in the Manatee Individual Photo-identification
System (MIPS catalog), we could not confirm whether this was Chessie, or even if all the
sightings were of the same manatee. Then a northern distribution record was made when
a manatee was reported in Quisset Harbor, Falmouth, MA on August 17. On August 20,
the manatee lingered long enough to drink fresh water from a culvert in nearby
Greenwich Bay, Rhode Island, where many photographs and videos were obtained. The
images confirmed this manatee was not Chessie, but a new, previously unidentified
northern traveler! Most likely the same manatee was reported in Bristol Harbor, RI on
August 28 and near Long Beach Island, NJ on 8 September. This manatee still has time
to reach Florida waters before the onset of cooler weather. We hope to receive more
photo-documentation sightings as it makes its way home. Cathy Beck (U.S. Geological
Survey, Florida Integrated Science Center, Sirenia Project)
Temporal habitat use of the Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris)
at a natural water spring in relation to human activity and vegetation. Wildlife refuges
are designed to provide suitable habitat as free as possible from human interaction and
impact. Kings Bay in the Crystal River National Wildlife Refuge (CRNWR) is located
approximately 60 miles north of Tampa Bay, Florida. Kings Bay serves as critical habitat
for the endangered Florida manatee (Trichechus manatus latirostris); yet limiting human
activity cannot be strongly enforced because of the legal limitations involving the bay's
Manatees use Kings Bay's natural springs as a warm water refuge in winter
(November-April) when Federal sanctuaries for manatees are annually put in place.
Historically, with thermal release during the non-winter months (May-October),
manatees left the bay in search of better forage after depletion during the winter.
Recently, manatee numbers during the non-winter season have been increasing, but how
manatees use the bay at this time is undetermined. Humans recreate and attempt to
interact with manatees throughout the year.
Our current study documented the seasonal 1) dispersion and 2) behavioral habitat
use patterns of manatees in Kings Bay with regard to human activity and vegetation from
May '05-May '06. Survey stations were established across the bay and the number of
Sirenews No. 46
manatees, people in the water, and boats were counted. To examine behavioral patterns,
focal animal observations were conducted, and the time spent feeding, resting, traveling,
or other activities was recorded. The amount of edible vegetation was determined using
The number of manatees and percent of edible vegetation differed significantly by
season, but the number of people in the water or boats did not. During the winter,
manatee dispersion was positively correlated to springs while negatively correlated to
areas of high edible vegetation. During the non-winter season, manatees were found
more in areas of high vegetation and not at springs. In both seasons, humans frequented
the springs, and manatees fed more and traveled less in areas of low versus high human
These results suggest further study on year round habitat use by manatees in
Kings Bay is needed to determine if additional regulations of human activity, especially
in the non-winter season, are warranted. --Ryan Berger1, Iske L. Vandevelde Larkin2
and Bruce A. Schulte1 (1Department of Biology, Georgia Southern University,
Statesboro, GA 30460, USA; 2Aquatic Animal Health Program, Veterinary Medical
Center, University of Florida, Gainesville, Florida, USA).
Clements, M. T., G. Anjali, P. D. Gingerich, and P. L. Koch. 2006. Isotopic records
from early whales and sea cows: Contrasting patterns of ecological transition. Journal of
Vertebrate Paleontology 26(2):355-370.
Harr, K., J. Harvey, R. Bonde, D. Murphy, M. Lowe, M. Menchaca, E. Haubold, and R.
Franci-Floyd. 2006. Comparison of methods used to diagnose generalized inflammatory
disease in manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife
Holley, D. K., I. R. Lawler, and N. J. Gales. 2006. Summer survey of dugong
distribution and abundance in Shark Bay reveals additional key habitat area. Wildlife
Horikoshi-Beckett, C. and B. A. Schulte. 2006. Activity patterns and spatial use of
facility by a group of captive female manatees (Trichechus manatus latirostris). Zoo
Ichikawa, K., C. Tsutsumi, N. Arai, T. Akamatsu, T. Shinke, T. Hata, and K.
Adulyanukosol. 2006. Dugong (Dugong dugon) vocalization patterns recorded by
automatic underwater sound monitoring systems. Journal of the Acoustical Society of
Lanyon, J. M. and G. D. Sanson. 2006. Mechanical disruption of seagrass in the
digestive tract of the dugong. Journal of Zoology 270(2): 277-289.
Sirenews No. 46
Lanyon, J. M., R. W. Slade, H. L. Sneath, D. Broderick, J. M. Kirkwood, D. Limpus, C.
J. Limpus, and T. A. Jessop. 2006. A method for capturing dugongs (Dugong dugon) in
open water. Aquatic Mammals 32(2):196-201.
Lightsey, J. D., S. A. Rommel, A. M. Costidis, and T. D. Pitchford. 2006. Methods used
during gross necropsy to determine watercraft-related mortality in the Florida manatee
(Trichechus manatus latirostris). Journal of Zoo and Wildlife Medicine 37(3):262-275.
Mann, D. A., T. J. O'Shea, and D. P. Nowacek. 2006. Nonlinear dynamics in manatee
vocalizations. Marine Mammal Science 22(3):548-555.
Newman, L. A. and P. R. Robinson. 2006. The visual pigments of the West Indian
manatee (Trichechus manatus). Vision Research 46(20):3326-3330.
Phillips, R., C. Niezrecki, and D. 0. Beusse. 2006. Theoretical detection ranges for
acoustic based manatee avoidance technology. Journal of the Acoustical Society of
Rajamani, L., A. S. Cabanban, and R. A. Rahman. 2006. Indigenous use and trade of
dugong (Dugong dugon) in Sabah, Malaysia. Ambio 35(5):266-268.
Reich, K. J. and G. A. J. Worthy. 2006. An isotopic assessment of the feeding habits of
free-ranging manatees. Marine Ecology Progress Series 322:303-309.
Sheppard, J. K., A. R. Preen, H. Marsh, I. R. Lawler, S. D. Whiting, and R. E. Jones.
2006. Movement heterogeneity of dugongs, Dugong dugon (Muller), over large spatial
scales. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 334(1):64-83.
Tsutsumi, C., K. Ichikawa, N. Arai, T. Akamatsu, T. Shinke, and K. Adulyanukosol.
2006. Feeding behavior of wild dugongs monitored by a passive acoustical method.
Journal of the Acoustical Society ofAmerica 120(3): 1356-1360.
Yan, J., K. B. Clifton, R. L. Reep, and J. J. Mecholsky, Jr. 2006. Application of fracture
mechanics to failure in manatee rib bone. Journal of Biomechanical Engineering-
Transactions of the ASME 128(3):281-289.
Yan, Z., C. Niezrecki, L. N. Cattafesta III, and D. 0. Beusse. 2006. Background noise
cancellation of manatee vocalizations using an adaptive line enhancer. Journal of the
Acoustical Society ofAmerica 120(1): 145-152.
See page 5for recent publications from James Cook University researchers.
Sirenews No. 46
SIRENIAN WEBSITE DIRECTORY
The Call of the Siren (Caryn Self Sullivan):
Caribbean Environment Programme, Regional Management Plan for the West Indian
Manatee: < http://www.cep.unep.org/pubs/Techreports/tr35en/index.html >
Columbus (Ohio) Zoo manatee exhibit:
Dugong necropsy manual (available for downloading):
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Bureau of Protected Species
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Florida Marine Research Institute
(Florida manatee mortality data):
Fundaci6n Salvemos al Manati de Costa Rica:
Great Barrier Reef dugongs:
IBAMA manatee project, Brazil:
Jacksonville University (Florida) Manatee Research Center Online:
< http://www.ju.edu/academics/research_marco.asp >
Philippines Dugong Research and Conservation Project:
< http://www.wwf.org.ph/about.php?pg=wwd&subl=00015 >
Save the Manatee Club:
Sea World of Florida:
Sirenews (texts of current and recent issues):
snews.htm>; (for archive of most older
Sirenia Project, U.S. Geological Survey:
Sirenews No. 46
Sirenian International, Inc.: [Includes a bibliography of
sirenian literature, and an archive of Sirenews issues.]
Smithsonian Institution sirenian bibliography:
nmnh/sirenia.htm> [This is a relatively short bibliography, compiled by Joy Gold, that
provides a very good introduction to both the technical and the popular literature.]
Steller's sea cow: < http://www.hans-rothauscher.de/steller/steller.htm>. This site also
includes a searchable database of museum collections worldwide that contain bones of
Hydrodamalis gigas: . See
also the website [in Finnish] of Dr. Ari Lampinen, Univ. of Jyvaskyla, Finland:
Trichechus senegalensis skull:
senegalensis/>. [CT imagery of an African manatee skull and mandible, viewable as
individual thin slices, 3-D rotational movies, and slice movies. Excellent detail!]
West African manatee in Chad (Jonathan H. Salkind):
Tracking rehabilitated manatees in Florida and Antillean manatees in Belize:
Xavier University manatee web site (Midwest Manatee Research Program; Chuck
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