Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Spring 2009


The Florida Atlantic Coast Telemetry Project (FACT) is a multi-agency research collaboration employing acoustic telemetry to study movements, life-history patterns and habitat-use of commercially, recreationally, and ecologically important fishes along Florida’s Atlantic coast ecosystem. Large-scale passive acoustic telemetry is increasingly applied to animal movements within and among ecosystems and can provide new opportunities to investigate comparative and wide-ranging fish movements across a mosaic of aquatic coastal habitats. Acoustically tagged fishes include gray snapper (Lutjanus griseus), common snook (Centropomus undecimalis), red drum (Sciaenops ocellatus), lemon sharks (Negaprion brevirostris}, and several species of rays (Dasyatis sp., Gymnura sp. ). Fish movements are tracked by > 130+ acoustic receivers covering an approximately >300 km2 area including river, estuary, and off-shore reef habitats. All fish position detections are shared across multiple telemetry projects. This internship report is a product of the FACT collaboration where I served as the NOAA-Fisheries FACT Project Coordinator, in partnership with the state FWC coordinator, from 2006-2008. As a collaborative effort, data for each section of the manuscript, along with some initial text were contributed by various FACT collaborators. As FACT Project Coordinator, I initiated and guided the concept of the paper as a whole, pulled all the sections together, and created a coherent, publishable manuscript. I also included and analyzed my tagging data and included those comparative results in the gray snapper section of the paper. And finally, I added my research on the concept of large scale acoustic telemetry and its growing applications in coastal environments. The report reviews three applications of, and initial results from, this coastal ecosystem scale collaboration, including: 1) comparing nocturnal/diurnal movement patterns of juvenile and adult gray snapper; 2) detecting large-scale movements of a snook between adjacent river systems; and 3) increasing location detection resolution of lemon shark movements with overlapping arrays. We conclude with a discussion of potential expansions of the acoustic array along the Atlantic seaboard. Initial results from the FACT Project and other large-scale passive acoustic telemetry arrays suggest they may provide an increasingly important tool in understanding fish movements at a coastal ecosystem-scale. A final, condensed manuscript of this report will be submitted for publication either as a NOAA Technical Memorandum or as an article in Florida Scientist.


Department: MAF

Location: United States Fish & Wildlife Service

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