A Machine Learning Approach to better understand and protect manatees in Latin America and the Caribbean
what is ai for manatees?
AI 4 Manatees is a multi-sectoral alliance that aims to accelerate the conservation of manatee populations in the Caribbean, and regions in Central and South America.
By building a mechanism for analyzing manatee vocalizations from submarine audio recordings harnessing the power of AI systems, we will produce tools that allow researchers and conservation practitioners to better understand manatees’ behavior and communication patterns.
Facilitate informed decision-making and research on marine mammal communication, behavior, and environmental responses
Enhance awareness of ML's role in accelerating threatened species conservation
Develop and test AI-based interventions for data-driven species conservation
of Coastal Habitats
Manatees are an umbrella species that serve as symbols of the health of the entire marine environment, making their conservation a mission of paramount importance.
These marine mammals are guardians of coastal habitats across Latin America and the Caribbean that play a pivotal role in maintaining the health of our marine ecosystems by curbing the unchecked growth of marine algae and seagrass, manatees prevent these organisms from overwhelming their habitats.
Without manatees, marine algae and seagrass can proliferate, leading to imbalanced and potentially toxic conditions in marine ecosystems. This imbalance can trigger a domino effect, causing overpopulation of certain species and even the rampant spread of mosquito-borne diseases.
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Despite their crucial ecological role, manatees are in peril. The International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) classifies them as "vulnerable." Their population is dwindling, and they face numerous threats, including habitat loss, boat collisions, and entanglement in fishing gear. These threats, combined with their slow reproductive rate, make their survival a pressing concern.
In Mexico, where significant manatee populations reside, the decline is especially alarming due to habitat changes and the ever-increasing boat traffic in their habitats. Time is of the essence to decipher the cryptic world of manatee vocalizations, as this understanding forms the foundation for effective conservation strategies.