Pilot aerial study of the marine megafauna in northern coast Alagoas, Brazil

Maria Danise de Oliveira ALVES, João Carlos Gomes BORGES, Maria Elisabeth de ARAÚJO


This study aimed to investigate the feasibility of strip-transect aerial survey for the study of the marine megafauna in northern coast of Alagoas, chosen as the pilot area due to the better water clarity and the occurrence of the Antillean manatee. It was sighted 15 dolphins, 13 sea turtles and 10 manatees. From five aspects tested on the experimental flight, three adjustments were necessary on the methodology as following: 1) reduction of the transect angle to 40º to increase the sampling area; 2) constant transects of 1.5 nautical miles from shore to standardize the area of coverage; and 3) transects restricted to the mouths of estuaries due to low visibility in turbid waters. This study demonstrated the effectiveness of aerial surveys for the detection of marine megafauna. However, the adjustments proposed are necessary to minimize the characteristic limitations of each species and/or habitat. Keywords: aerial method, manatees, dolphins, sea turtles, limitations

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DOI: https://doi.org/10.5914/tropocean.v41i1-2.5417


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