SUFB 1187: Largest mass die off of manatees due to starvation


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By Andrew Lewin. Discovered by Player FM and our community — copyright is owned by the publisher, not Player FM, and audio is streamed directly from their servers. Hit the Subscribe button to track updates in Player FM, or paste the feed URL into other podcast apps.

There were 841 manatee deaths since January 1st of 2021, which is the largest mass mortality event since 2013 (830 deaths). The deaths were due to a lack of seagrass in their favourite eating spot, Indian Lagoon.

Seagrass is a crucial part of the manatee diet and without the presence of the ocean plant, manatees end up starving to death. It's important to maintain good water quality for optimal seagrass health.

Unfortunately, water quality along the Florida coastline has been awful over the past decade due to sewage overflow runoff with high nitrogen and phosphorus levels. The higher nutrients create algal blooms that block the sun from getting to the seagrass. When the algal blooms die off, they land on the seagrass resulting in a major die-off of the plants.

Government policy on water quality and restoration of seagrasses will help re-establish the important coastal habitat; however, that will require a lot of time and money.

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