What’s in a Photo? A Look at Wild Manatee Research

Jennifer Johnson and Sheri Barton
Mote Marine Laboratory
Florida Teen Science Cafe


Presenter talks about manatee research that she works on.Blog written by Allison N., Mote First Year High School Intern

May’s Teen Science Café was about using photo ID for researching manatees. While enjoying pizza, drinks, and time with our friends, we listened as Sheri Barton and Jennifer Johnson explained how and why they use photo ID on manatees. We learned about manatee’s habitats, eating habits, behavior, how they care for their calves, and how they die. We saw many photos of local manatees and got to hear about their personalities and where they are living. Sheri and Jennifer also explained to us how they use aerial photos to count how many manatees are in a particular area.




Hands on Activity

Teens looking at aerial photos of manatees.

Teens looking at aerial photos of manatees.

One of the aerial photos used in activity.

Aerial photo of manatees used in activity.











After the presentation, there were two activities. The first was a matching game between real photos of manatees and drawings of the same manatees. The second was a game where we had to circle around aerial photos of manatees, much like the manatee researchers do, and count how many manatees we saw. This game was quite a challenge! There was also a table with some replicas of manatee bones, the types of sea-grasses they eat, and the types of tracking tags that are placed on manatees. I enjoyed this café very much and really learned a lot about manatees!