Manatees equipped with cameras for seagrass research

January 10, 2023

Animal keepers at Royal Burgers' Zoo are temporarily equipping Caribbean manatees with camera-tag technology as part of international scientific research by Wageningen University & Research (WUR). PhD student Fee Smulders is researching ecological interactions in tropical seagrass ecosystems. If tested successfully, manatees and sea turtles in the Caribbean will also be temporarily fitted with the camera-tag technology to investigate the impact of climate change on marine plant-herbivore interactions.

Animal keepers and biologists at the Arnhem Zoo are investigating the best place on the manatees' bodies to attach the cameras for optimal results. During training sessions for veterinary purposes, the temporary cameras can be easily attached and removed again. The cameras were funded by the Burgers' Zoo-affiliated Lucie Burgers Foundation, which stimulates and facilitates comparative animal behavior research.

International scientific research

PhD student Fee Smulders is conducting her scientific research under the guidance of Dr. Marjolijn Christianen of the Aquatic Ecology and Water Quality Management group of Wageningen University & Research (WUR), among others. As part of this research into ecological interactions in tropical seagrass ecosystems, green sea turtles and dugongs have previously been successfully fitted with temporary camera tag technology by other scientists.

Collaboration between WUR and Burgers' Zoo

Burgers' Zoo and Wageningen University & Research (WUR) have been working together on scientific research for many years. Students from the WUR conduct behavioral research on various animal species, among other things, and several scientists have received doctorates on research projects at the Arnhem Zoo. Research forms one of the main pillars of Burgers' Zoo alongside nature conservation, education and recreation.

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