In South Florida, scientists are using acoustic telemetry to track the movements of important marine species such as sea turtles, tarpon, permit, sawfish, cobia, and nurse sharks. Tracking is conducted by implanting or attaching acoustic tags to the animal and then stationary underwater devices called receivers record information from the acoustic tag when the animal swims within range of the receiver. These receivers are found in coastal waters throughout South Florida from Biscayne Bay down to the Florida Keys and into the Everglades. Receiver data allows researchers to determine how animals use their environment, including seasonal use of habitats and migration patterns. However, to better understand how climate may impact animal movements, researchers need to deploy temperature loggers at receiver locations. Funding from the Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation is allowing SECOORA to purchase 3 new receivers and 30 water temperature loggers which FACT Network members will deploy.
The Curtis and Edith Munson Foundation provided $15,000 for this project. SECOORA’s goal is to raise another $15,000 in 1:1 matching contributions in order to support a graduate student to use temperature logger data and deploy acoustic tags in fish species to address fisheries management concerns. The project study area will focus on Biscayne Bay, Florida Bay and the Florida Keys. We need to meet our goal by October 2019 in order to make this student opportunity happen.
Why This Matters
Understanding how water temperature influences the movements of fish and turtles is critical for effective protection and management of our aquatic resources. The simultaneous collection of animal location and temperature data will be used in the development of predictive models of temperature dependent fish behavior, but can also be applied to model validation for hurricanes and coral reef response to water temperature. A graduate student will be selected to analyze the water temperature data and use the data, along with the tag data, to conduct their research.