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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 663:157-177 (2021)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13637

Regional-scale variability in the movement ecology of marine fishes revealed by an integrative acoustic tracking network

Claudia Friess1,*,#, Susan K. Lowerre-Barbieri1,2,#, Gregg R. Poulakis3, Neil Hammerschlag4, Jayne M. Gardiner5, Andrea M. Kroetz6, Kim Bassos-Hull7, Joel Bickford1, Erin C. Bohaboy8, Robert D. Ellis1, Hayden Menendez1, William F. Patterson III2, Melissa E. Price9, Jennifer S. Rehage10, Colin P. Shea1, Matthew J. Smukall11, Sarah Walters Burnsed1, Krystan A. Wilkinson7,12, Joy Young13, Angela B. Collins1,14, Breanna C. DeGroot15, Cheston T. Peterson16, Caleb Purtlebaugh17, Michael Randall9, Rachel M. Scharer3, Ryan W. Schloesser7, Tonya R. Wiley18, Gina A. Alvarez19, Andy J. Danylchuk20, Adam G. Fox19, R. Dean Grubbs21, Ashley Hill22, James V. Locascio7, Patrick M. O’Donnell23, Gregory B. Skomal24, Fred G. Whoriskey25, Lucas P. Griffin20

1Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, St. Petersburg, FL 33701, USA
2Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, School of Forest Resources and Conservation, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL 32653, USA
3Charlotte Harbor Field Laboratory, Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Port Charlotte, FL 33954, USA
4Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, University of Miami, Miami, FL 33149, USA
5Division of Natural Sciences, New College of Florida, Sarasota, FL 34243, USA
6Riverside Technology, Inc. for NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Service, Southeast Fisheries Science Center, Panama City, FL 32408, USA
7Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota, FL 34236, USA
8National Marine Fisheries Service, Pacific Islands Fisheries Science Center, Honolulu, HI 96818, USA
9U.S. Geological Survey Wetland and Aquatic Research Center (USGS-WARC), Gainesville, FL 32653, USA
10Institute of Environment, Florida International University, Miami, FL 33199, USA
11Bimini Biological Field Station Foundation, South Bimini, Bahamas
12Chicago Zoological Society’s Sarasota Dolphin Research Program c/o Mote Marine Laboratory, Sarasota, FL 34236, USA
13Tequesta Field Laboratory, Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Tequesta, FL 33469, USA
14University of Florida IFAS Extension, Florida Sea Grant, Palmetto, FL 34221, USA
15Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute, Florida Atlantic University, Fort Pierce, FL 34946, USA
16Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL 32306, USA
17Senator George Kirkpatrick Marine Laboratory, Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Cedar Key, FL 32625, USA
18Havenworth Coastal Conservation, Palmetto, FL 34221, USA
19Warnell School of Forestry and Natural Resources, University of Georgia, Athens, GA 30602, USA
20Department of Environmental Conservation, University of Massachusetts Amherst, Amherst, MA 01003, USA
21Florida State University Coastal and Marine Laboratory, St. Teresa, FL 32358, USA
22Lynker Technologies for NOAA, National Ocean Services, Office of Response and Restoration, Marine Debris Division, Silver Spring, MD 20910, USA
23Rookery Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, Naples, FL 34113, USA
24Massachusetts Division of Marine Fisheries, New Bedford, MA 02744, USA
25Ocean Tracking Network, Department of Biology, Dalhousie University, Halifax, Nova Scotia B3H 4R2, Canada
*Corresponding author:
#These authors contributed equally to this work

ABSTRACT: Marine fish movement plays a critical role in ecosystem functioning and is increasingly studied with acoustic telemetry. Traditionally, this research has focused on single species and small spatial scales. However, integrated tracking networks, such as the Integrated Tracking of Aquatic Animals in the Gulf of Mexico (iTAG) network, are building the capacity to monitor multiple species over larger spatial scales. We conducted a synthesis of passive acoustic monitoring data for 29 species (889 transmitters), ranging from large top predators to small consumers, monitored along the west coast of Florida, USA, over 3 yr (2016-2018). Space use was highly variable, with some groups using all monitored areas and others using only the area where they were tagged. The most extensive space use was found for Atlantic tarpon Megalops atlanticus and bull sharks Carcharhinus leucas. Individual detection patterns clustered into 4 groups, ranging from occasionally detected long-distance movers to frequently detected juvenile or adult residents. Synchronized, alongshore, long-distance movements were found for Atlantic tarpon, cobia Rachycentron canadum, and several elasmobranch species. These movements were predominantly northbound in spring and southbound in fall. Detections of top predators were highest in summer, except for nearshore Tampa Bay where the most detections occurred in fall, coinciding with large red drum Sciaenops ocellatus spawning aggregations. We discuss the future of collaborative telemetry research, including current limitations and potential solutions to maximize its impact for understanding movement ecology, conducting ecosystem monitoring, and supporting fisheries management.


KEY WORDS: Acoustic monitoring · Movement ecology · Ecosystem monitoring · Integrated Tracking of Aquatic Animals in the Gulf of Mexico · iTAG · Collaboration


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Cite this article as: Friess C, Lowerre-Barbieri SK, Poulakis GR, Hammerschlag N and others (2021) Regional-scale variability in the movement ecology of marine fishes revealed by an integrative acoustic tracking network. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 663:157-177. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps13637

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