Fish and Wildlife Research Institute


Acoustic Telemetry Research

Telemetry studies conducted at the FWC's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute use underwater acoustic transmitters and receivers to monitor movement patterns and other behaviors of a variety of aquatic animals. Collectively, these studies create an extensive network of receivers, maximizing the space and time over which tagged animals are monitored.


Biologists use acoustic telemetry in both saltwater and freshwater environments to study an assortment of species, from goliath grouper on deep offshore wrecks to largemouth bass in shallow streams and rivers.


Efforts to build a network for Gulf scientists tracking aquatic animals began at a 2014 workshop, where more than 50 scientists and vendors worked together to develop an Integrated Tracking of Aquatic Animals in the Gulf of Mexico Network (iTAG-n). The over-arching goal is to improve our understanding of animal migration and residency to assess stock resilience to spatially-explicit disturbances and provide important information needed for management. Shorter-term goals set at this first meeting were to: inventory existing telemetry investment in the Gulf, develop the means to exchange “orphan” detections (i.e., detections on receivers from fish other than the target species), continue to hold semi-annual meetings, finalize membership by-laws, and develop an Integrated Tracking of Aquatic Animals in the Gulf of Mexico Research (iTAG-r) component to demonstrate the need and benefits of tracking Gulf animals at the large marine ecosystem scale.

Since that first meeting, iTAG-n has had a second meeting and now is made up of 63 members (and growing) who have a total of ~2,200 animals tagged with over 1,000 receivers throughout the Gulf (iTAG Receiver Map). The iTAG-r component is led by Dr. Sue Lowerre-Barbieri, Dr. Jay Rooker, Dr. Will Patterson, Dr. Behzad Mahmoudi, and Dr. Clay Porch, working closely with Dr. Fred Whoriskey from the Ocean Tracking Network (OTN). The first iTAG-r study focuses on red snapper movements and how these are affected by habitat context and was made possible through OTN’s generous investment in acoustic receivers.

Telemetry Publications

Read telemetry articles published by marine fisheries researchers.

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