Against the backdrop of the KSC launch pads, Dr. Edmund Gerstein, FAU Associate Professor and Director of Marine Mammal Research, and Steve McCulloch, HBOI Marine Mammal Research and Conservation Program Manager, conducted groundbreaking manatee 'acoustics' research. This research took place in the restricted waters of the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge. The research, which is carried out under special 'endangered species' authorization issued by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, involves testing of a manatee "Early Warning System" (EWS). The technology discreetly alerts manatees of approaching boats and has the potential to avert injuries and mortalities from boat strikes. Dr. Gerstein has been involved with manatee research since 1986 and developed the technology in 1996 after first conducting extensive research to first determine the hearing abilities of manatees. This research was made possible by a donation from the Matthews Manatee Fund.