Featured Image Credit: WWSB
By: Sarah Sharkey
Mote Marine Laboratory’s manatees are starting to workout using a treadmill! That’s right! Hugh and Buffett are taking part in a study that will examine the physiology of manatees through the use of a treadmill.
The study is hoping to find out more about the manatee’s metabolic rate and energy use. The manatees swim on a treadmill and breathe into a metabolic dome while scientists record what is happening.
The information gleaned from this research will help manatee rehabilitation facilities across the country better understand how manatees function and heal.
The senior aquarium biologist at Mote Marine Laboratory, Kat Boerner, said ““If we get a better understanding of their physiology by doing this research project with Hugh and Buffett, then we have one more parameter that we can give to the rehab facilities so they can test that these animals are really ready to get back into the wild.”
Hugh and Buffet are training for the study five days a week and then participate in the study every summer and winter. It is important to study their physiology in different times of the year because water temperature may potentially have an effect on their metabolic processes.
This is the first time that this type of study is being performed on a manatee, but similar observations have been made on dolphins, seal and sea lions.
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