Midwest Florida Manatee Research Project

Acoustical and Behavioral Research

Florida manatees are killed or injured every year due to human related factors, such as collisions with watercraft.  To help with the effort to reduce manatee casualities, Xavier University's Department of Biology Professor, Dr. Charles J. Grossman, became interested in helping to save the endangered Florida manatee.  In 2002, he founded the Midwest Florida Manatee Research Project (MFMRP). With permits from the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, he and a team of biology students and staff from several other departments, including Physics, Mathematics, and Audio Visual, began studying the behavioral responses of captive Florida manatees when they were exposed to ultrasonic and audible sound frequencies.  MFMRP also collaborates with scientists and staff from federal and state agencies, zoos and aquarioums, research laboratories, and veterinarians. 

The initial intention of MFMRP was to determine if there was a sound that could be transmitted into the water to warn manatees of approaching vessels. While this goal of the research is continuing, the study has expanded to include others aspects of captive manatee behaviors, vocalizations, and physiology.