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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 291:237-248 (2005)  -  doi:10.3354/meps291237

Movements and site fidelity of the bonefish Albula vulpes in the northern Florida Keys determined by acoustic telemetry

Robert Humston1,2,*, Jerald S. Ault1, Michael F. Larkin1, Jiangang Luo1

1Division of Marine Biology and Fisheries, University of Miami Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway, Miami, Florida 33149, USA
2Present address: Department of Biology, Virginia Military Institute, Lexington, Virginia 24450, USA

ABSTRACT: We used an acoustic telemetry system to test the hypothesis that the bonefish Albula vulpes exhibits site fidelity in selection of foraging areas in the northern Florida Keys. Stationary hydrophone receivers with data-logging units were deployed surrounding a discrete bonefish foraging area. Individuals were captured, fitted with acoustic transmitters, and then released within the study area. The reception ranges of receiver stations within the array were evaluated by moving a transmitter within the array. These data were used to assess spatial coverage of monitoring and decipher fine-scale movement patterns from recorded presence–absence data: 64% of tagged fish were detected by receivers for multiple days following release. Tagged fish frequented the experimental area for periods ranging from 3 to 61 d. Only 2 individuals, tracked for 48 and 61 d, demonstrated site fidelity characterized by daily movements into the study area. Our observations contradict earlier studies that concluded that bonefish range widely throughout available habitats, and suggest that bonefish utilize shallow habitats most, although deep channels may provide refuge from the rapid temperature changes that occur on the shallow flats.

KEY WORDS: Bonefish · Acoustic telemetry · Site fidelity · Movements · Florida Keys

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