Rescue and Mortality Response
Staff members at field labs located throughout Florida respond to
reports of injured and dead manatees. Researchers at the five field
labs work with FWC Law Enforcement, volunteers, and other agencies
to verify injured or dead manatees; these groups also aid in rescue
and carcass salvage. To determine cause of death, manatee carcasses
are transported to the St. Petersburg lab, which serves as the
state's pathobiology facility.
Since 1974, biologists have collected mortality statistics for
Florida manatees. Researchers have determined both the number of
manatee deaths in each Florida county and the probable cause of
death for each carcass. Analysis of these data allows tracking of
changes and trends in mortality throughout the years.
Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission biologists are
responsible for coordinating rescues of sick and injured
The Marine Mammal Pathobiology Laboratory (MMPL) is a field
laboratory of the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute (FWRI)
located on the campus of Eckerd College in St. Petersburg, Florida.
The MMPL is a dedicated member of the Manatee Salvage Program and
responds to reports from the FWC Law Enforcement and the public
concerning dead manatees in the waters of the northwestern sector