NCCOS Tracking of Reef Fishes to Inform Management and Design of Marine Protected Areas
National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science scientists, in cooperation with the National Park Service and US Geological Survey, recently completed the second phase of a study that will support management of fishes and habitats by characterizing reef fish distributions and defining species’ habitat utilization patterns. The scientists deployed 30 underwater hydrophones (receivers) along the south shore of St. John, US Virgin Islands to listen for the passage of fishes with surgically implanted sonic tags. Data were retrieved from nine previously deployed receivers.
To date, 19 species of reef fishes (123 individual fish) representing species with wide ranging habitat requirements and home ranges have been acoustically “tagged.” The next field mission will download information from the 30 receivers while an additional 10 receivers will be deployed to monitor inshore-offshore movements of reef fishes.