Oceanus Magazine
Back to Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution's Homepage

Images: Put the D-tag on the Manatee

Manatees have round heads, squinty eyes, and bodies up to 13 feet in length. Despite their lumbering appearance, they are graceful swimmers—and to many, a vanishing symbol of wild Florida. Researchers hope digital tags, or D-tags, will provide insights into their behavior that could prevent more vessel strikes. (Photo by Tom Hurst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

WHOI engineer Tom Hurst (above) and his colleague Mark Johnson created a customized attachment for using D-tags on manatees. It is designed to be non-invasive; the tag, which could fit on a slice of sandwich bread, weighs as much as a cell phone. (Photo by Tom Kleindinst, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)

It takes a team from the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission to bring each manatee aboard for tagging. Adult animals can top 2,000 pounds. (Photo courtesy of Margie Barlas, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)

A belt positioned above the manatees' tails holds monitoring devices, including the D-tag (white and yellow device). While on board, each manatee also received a full health assessment. (Photo courtesy of Margie Barlas, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission)