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Science Marine Biology

Florida Manatees

Biology, Behavior, and Conservation

by (author) John E. Reynolds III

photographs by Wayne Lynch

Johns Hopkins University Press
Initial publish date
Apr 2017
Marine Biology, Environmental Conservation & Protection, Mammals
  • Hardback

    Publish Date
    Apr 2017
    List Price

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A photographic journey into the secret world of Florida’s beloved manatee.

Winner of the CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title of the Choice ACRL

Manatees, the gentle giants of Florida's lagoons and coastal habitats, can bring a smile to the face of anybody lucky enough to spy one. As manatees dip and roll through the water, crowds gather to watch them feed on aquatic vegetation. Whether they are congregating by the hundreds or resting or feeding alone, viewing these sea cows can provide anyone interested in nature with hours of tranquil pleasure.

Having survived for eons, today's manatees are now under constant threat due to our rapidly swelling human population. Their habitats are often devastated by development and pollution. The slow-moving manatees also live at the mercy of chance, for they occupy waters filled with fast-moving boats powered by razor-sharp propellers—a new form of predator from which they have no protection. Boat speed limits have been put in place to protect manatees, but there is a constant push to lift them so that people can once again zip across the waters that manatees call home. For this reason, manatees are often a subject of controversy that pits their lives against the rights of boat owners.

In this book, manatee expert John E. Reynolds III and famed photographer Wayne Lynch join forces to reveal the clearest portrait of manatees ever published. Florida Manatees is a song for the manatee, a celebration of the lives of these majestic creatures. Reynolds's concise, informative text shares what scientists know about manatees, while Lynch's beautiful photographs instantly demonstrate how special these "potatoes with whiskers" really are. By encouraging an appreciation of manatees, the authors hope to help ensure a future in which Floridians can find ways to coexist with and continue to enjoy these uniquely wonderful sirenian inhabitants of their state.

Included in this book:
How manatees first came to Florida waters
How manatees fit into the ecosystems of Florida
What and how much manatees eat
How manatees behave and communicate with one another
Why manatees look the way they do
Why manatees have whiskers
How manatee mothers feed their young and much more

About the authors

John E. Reynolds III is the senior scientist at Mote Marine Laboratory's Manatee Research Program and the former chair of the US Marine Mammal Commission. He is the coeditor of Marine Mammal Research: Conservation beyond Crisis and the coauthor of Mysterious Manatees.

John E. Reynolds III's profile page

Wildlife photographer and science writer Dr. Wayne Lynch has dedicated almost three decades to learning everything he can about these powerful mammals. In his quest for bears, he has crawled inside the winter dens of black bears and polar bears, held squirming grizzly cubs in his arms, sailed along the coastal rainforests of British Columbia, hiked the cloud forests of the Andes Mountains in South America and ridden elephants through the jungles of Nepal and India.

In Bears, Bears, Bears for Kids, his engaging guide to the world's eight bear species, Lynch introduces us to the strange and wonderful natural histories of these magnificent wild animals.

For more than 40 years, Dr. Wayne Lynch has been writing about and photographing the wildlands of the world from the stark beauty of the Arctic and Antarctic to the lush rainforests of the tropics. Today, he is one of Canada's best-known and most widely published nature writers and wildlife photographers. His photo credits include hundreds of magazine covers, thousands of calendar shots, and tens of thousands of images published in over 80 countries. He is also the author/photographer of more than 45 books for children as well as over 20 highly acclaimed natural history books for adults including Windswept: A Passionate View of the Prairie Grasslands; Penguins of the World; Bears: Monarchs of the Northern Wilderness; A is for Arctic: Natural Wonders of a Polar World; Wild Birds Across the Prairies;Planet Arctic: Life at the Top of the World; The Great Northern Kingdom: Life in the Boreal Forest; Owls of the United States and Canada: A Complete Guide to their Biology and Behavior; Penguins: The World's Coolest Birds; Galapagos: A Traveler's Introduction; A Celebration of Prairie Birds; and Bears of the North: A Year Inside Their Worlds.In 2022, he released Wildlife of the Rockies for Kids and Loons: Treasured Symbols of the North. His books have won multiple awards and have been described as "a magical combination of words and images."

Wayne Lynch's profile page


  • Winner, CHOICE Outstanding Academic Title

Editorial Reviews

"The result is a lovely book that sounds as though it would appeal primarily to scientists, but which offers inviting color photos and history that make it accessible to lay audiences both within Florida and outside the state."

"This book is an indispensable resource for anyone desiring a general overview of the species as well as a future reference on protection measures for the group. Easily digestible for nonspecialists, this book is an excellent way to gain an accurate and updated picture of the current status of a charismatic species, the Florida manatee."

Journal of Mammalogy

"With its large format and high-quality paper, allowing Wayne Lynch’s gorgeous images to shine, one could be forgiven for assuming this was a mere coffee table book – but that would be to do the excellent text a disservice."

"This book makes a valuable contribution to awareness of manatees and will be of interest to curious nature lovers, natural science students, and young scientists taking their first steps on their scientific career path."

Conservation Biology

"Perusal of the numerous photographs located throughout the book is an enjoyable pastime. However, to do so, to treat this simply as a coffee-table book, would be a mistake; the photographs are striking and attractive, but the text relays interesting information about manatees and their management, an aspect of the book that should not be ignored."

"If the image on the cover does not entice the reader, a look at page 50 surely will: it shows a manatee hugging a human diver. The book focuses on the beauty, grace and vulnerability of these herbivores, but it also covers other sea mammals and their habitats."

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