Photos From the Field

                  Friday, May 3, 2002

This is a photo of me doing a land survey at Pansy Bayou.  The camera that we use has a polarized lens that blocks out a great deal of the glare from the water.  This allows for the pictures to be as clear as possible. When we are taking pictures for documentation purposes, we are trying to show scars and mutilations.  Therefore, it is very rare that we take photos of heads or faces since luckily these are usually not scarred.  Here is a manatee with a scar across his penduncal.
This calf is riding on mom again.  She is not visible through the murky water, but her baby is having a great time. This manatee has no visible scars on this back or trunk.  He does have some algae patterns and barnacles that you can see.  A manatee with no scars at all is called indistinct.  There are thankfully still some of those in Sarasota.  This manatee may not be indistinct, however, since we cannot see his entire body.  He is a sub-adult, which means he is not a calf, but he is not a full grown adult yet.  He came right over to see what I was up to!
This manatee has a thin scar on the right side of his trunk.  Notice all of the bubbles that we see just before he comes up.  Manatees open their valves just before they get to the surface and start to exhale.  This eliminates the time they need to spend above water, which makes my job that much more difficult.  You can actually see the shadow of me taking this picture.  This manatee was directly below where I was standing. This manatee has quite an interesting scar pattern.  It is difficult to determine which markings are actually scars and which are caused by glare.  When taking a picture in an area with glare, the data person must record glare as a "hindrance."  What does hindrance mean?
Once we spot a manatee or two we have to watch them even when they are entirely submerged so we can follow them cautiously with the boat.  As you can see, this is not always an easy task.  How many manatees can you spot below the surface? Can you tell which manatee is mom?  Do you notice any visible scars even in this murky water?
This sign was spotted at the boat ramp where we took MERV out of the water today.  It reminds people putting their boats in the water there that it is a manatee zone, and that they must use a no wake speed until they leave the area.   Many of the signs in the Sarasota Bay area also include a picture of a Manatee, so that people know what to look out for.