Accomplishments and challenges of the research on Antillean manatee: A bibliometric analysis
The Antillean manatee (Trichechus manatus manatus) is an endangered subspecies of the West Indian manatee inhabiting countries of South America, Meso America and the Caribbean. Basic and applied research is necessary to inform management plans for the effective recovery of this subspecies. The purpose of this study was to systematically review literature regarding Antillean manatees, without restriction of the research topic. Article selection and screening process are described. Our final database consisted of 456 publications, of which peer-reviewed literature (articles, reviews, and notes in research journals) represent the most important type (63.4%), followed by BSc, MSc, and PhD theses (28.1%). Most of the research (70%) was conducted on wild manatees, 21,5% under human care conditions, and the rest a combination of both; the most common topics of study were ‘ecology’, ‘conservation’, ‘morphology, anatomy and physiology’, and ‘behavior’. The literature on Antillean manatee has expanded significantly over the last two decades across the region, with most of the research published in just the last five (25.4%) to 10 (44.6%) years. Most of the published work has been by Brazilian, Mexican, and Colombian researchers. However, an important amount of research remains as theses in Portuguese or Spanish limiting the dissemination of results. Relevant limitations for research and publication in Latin American countries may have an impact on the published literature on Antillean manatees, including scarce funding, poor facilities, language-related difficulties, and lack of a culture of publication. Avenues to melt scientific barriers may include increasing governmental investment on research, strengthening international networks, and improving the support to publish in high-impact journals.
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