Research Programs

It may seem obvious, but a species can’t be conserved or managed if little is known about the species’ biology and ecology. As scary as it may seem to avid anglers who pursue Tarpon, Bonefish, and Permit, we do not know enough about these species to ensure their long-term health. The BTT research program is based on an assessment of what is known about Tarpon, Bonefish, and Permit, the most likely threats to these species, and the research priorities that will address the most important needs.

We have learned a great deal in recent years about these species, but still have a long way to go. For example, we know that tarpon spawn mainly during summer months (e.g., May – July in Florida), but we do not yet know where they spawn. Recent research has shown that bonefish spawn offshore, at night, near new and full moons, but we are still working to identify specific spawning sites so that these essential locations can be protected. To what extent are bonefish in the Bahamas related to Bonefish in Cuba, or even Belize? We know that Tarpon are capable of long distance migrations, but what portion of the Tarpon population stays in a relatively small area and what portion migrates long distances?

These are just a few of the questions that our Research Program is working to answer. (You can learn more about how BTT approaches this challenge here.) BTT is able to address so many questions because we work through collaborations with scientists from around the world, each with expertise in different aspects of research – genetics, population dynamics, ecology, physiology, and more. BTT works hard to bring in the funding needed to support these scientists, and that's where you can make a huge difference - by becoming a BTT member, major donor, or corporate sponsor.

As you browse the pages under Research Programs, you will note broad coverage of issues impacting Bonefish, Tarpon, and Permit. You will note that in many respects we still have a long way to go to gain enough knowledge for effective conservation, but that we have learned a lot in the past 10 years. You will also find, however, that if these issues are not being addressed now, the needs are known and course has been charted to meet those needs.