Satellite Tracking of Tarpon
To better understand Atlantic tarpon migratory patterns, spawning areas and population connectivity in the southeastern US and Gulf of Mexico, in collaboration with Bonefish-Tarpon Trust (BTT), Jerry Ault, Ph.D. and the University of Miami have been using “pop-up” archival transmitting (PAT) tags since 2001. These space-age tags deployed on tarpon can collect and archive second-by-second data on depth of the animal, water temperatures, light levels (specific for determining location of the tagged fish), and salinity (Luo et al. 2008a,b). The tags are preprogrammed to release from the tagged fish at a specified time and date, and then pop-up to the ocean surface where they will transmit their stored summary data to an ARGOS satellite network passing overhead. Data retrieved by the satellites is then forwarded to us here on earth for analysis. The goal of the satellite PATtagging research is to define the unit stock for the Atlantic tarpon appropriate for regional fishery management, to define stock mixing, spawning and feeding migrations, and coastal ocean habitat use by tarpon.
Special Thanks to the Tarpon & Bonefish Research Center (click here)
Remember, 1 inch = 2.54 cm and 1 pound = .45 kg. So, for example a three foot (36") long fish to the fork is 91 cm and a 110 lb fish is 50 kg.
Daily Activity Graph
The following graph shows the average number of rolls for any given period of time. This data is distilled from over a hundred different tags.
Research Data Update
The following are some additional tracks and information for viewing. The years of the tags are noted.
2006 Galveston PAT Tag
The following are GoogleEarth files. You will need GoogleEarth on your computer to open and view.
Mexico to Texas Early Summer Tracks
2005 - PAT Tag #33 - Click Here to Open
2006 - PAT Tag#43 - Click Here to Open
2006 - PAT Tag#42 - Click Here to Open
2007 - PAT Tag#67a - Click Here to Open
2008 - PAT Tag #99a - Click Here to Open
Texas Tagging Tracks
2007 - Tag #86 - Click Here to Open
2007 - PAT Tag #82a - Click Here to Open
2009 - Tag #130 - Click Here to Open
Summer 2012 Texas Tagging Update
We were able to tag multiple fish in the Port O'Connor area this summer. We obtained some interesting tag results. We were able to tag some fish with SPOT Tags (which permit instentaneous location data when the fish rolls) and modified PAT Tags (which permit limited instentaneous location data as well). Below are some of the graphics on fish movements after tagging.
First is a graph of data from one of the tags (Tag #235)[You can right click and save this information, allowing you to view it in a larger, more detailed format).
Location Data now for the same tag (Tag #235)
Here are a couple more tracks on a couple more fish.
2012 Tagging Video
Florida 2012 Tag Update
Project Tarpon continues to support Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT) in their efforts to tag tarpon in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic. Below are a couple tracks of fish recently tagged near the panhandle of Florida. They have taken off toward Louisiana.
Summer 2011 Tag Update
Project Tarpon continues to support Bonefish & Tarpon Trust (BTT) in their efforts to tag tarpon in the Gulf of Mexico and Atlantic. This spring and summer, BTT in conjunction with the University of Miami has been placing PAT satellite tags and SPOT tags in tarpon. Some interesting results have come back. The most important discovery has been the frequency at which tarpon along the Florida panhandle use fresh water river systems. Below is an example of a fish tagged during the second to last week of July until this week. Some of the readings way up river may be a little off, but it shows a great deal of use of fresh water estuaries and the importance of these eco systems to tarpon migration. The fish has continued moving toward the west. More to come soon.
Fall 2010 Boca Grande Tag Results
The following are graphic displays of the tagging results for tarpon tagged in the Boca Grande, Florida area this past fall.
2001-2010 Overall PAT Tag Report Presentation
Click the link below and download the PAT Tag Report PowerPoint Presentation for 2001 - 2010, including some detailed reports from tags placed in Baca Grande, Florida tarpon showing offshore migration off western Florida.
Comprehensive PAT Tagging Results 2007-2008
PAT Sattelite Tagging Results
Since 2001, PAT tags have been placed in tarpon from Nicaragua to the East Coast of the United States. Some amazing information has been learned. For example, tarpon have been found to travel hundreds of miles in a matter of a few days. Additionally, we have learned that tarpon often dive extemely deep, in excess of four hundred (400) feet - thought to be associated with pre-spawn activity.
Tarpon Migratory Mapping
Detail Data Summaries
Example of a tarpon tagged in Mexico and the daily recording of depth and temperature:
Graph of Data Obtained from Fish Tagged in Florida Keys (Notice Depth of almost 500 feet)
Snapshot from one day for a tarpon in Louisiana - note water depth and time of day:
Tarpon Videos - Detailing Migration by Day
Texas Tarpon in 2007
Florida Keys Tag
Veracruz, Mexico Tag
Alabama Tarpon Tag
Graphic Representation of Tarpon Tagged in Matagorda Bay in September 2006. Tarpon Returned to Within Two Miles of Tag Location when Tagged Popped off in late November 2006
PAT TAGGING REPORTS
Click to Download