Juvenile Tarpon Study in Indian River Lagoon | Bonefish & Tarpon Trust
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Juvenile Tarpon Study in Indian River Lagoon

Dr. Jon Shenker of the Florida Institute of Technology is set to begin a two part study of juvenile tarpon in the Indian River Lagoon of Florida’s East coast.  A research grant awareded by Bonefish & Tarpon Trust will help fund the project.  In previous research efforts, Dr. Shenker and his students identified and determined the habitat requirements of tarpon less than 1 year old, information which today is being used to locate similar habitats in Florida and beyond for protection and restoration.

Stage one of the new research to occur in the Indian River Lagoon will employ Passive Integrated Transponder (PIT) tags and underwater antenna to record their use of marsh creeks in the Lagoon. When a tagged fish swims past the antenna, the tag identification number is recorded and later uploaded to a computer for analysis.  Understanding how juvenile tarpon move throughout creek systems is critical to providing effective protection and restoration.  This will be the first study to monitor the movements of juvenile tarpon.

Stage two will track one to five year old tarpon that have exited the creeks and are moving throughout the Indian River Lagoon and beyond. This second phase will utilize acoustic tags which emit a sonic ping uniquely identifying each fish and recording the movement with underwater receivers.  Underwater receivers currently in place throughout the Indian River Lagoon and nearby coastal waters will provide a broad range for tracking.  The movement of these one to five year old tarpon will be tracked in relation to freshwater flows from rivers and water temperature.  The information gained will be useful in determining the effects of water management on juvenile tarpon and for assistance in designing conservation strategies.

If you’d like to get involved in this project, donations in any amount are welcome.  Please visit our donate now page and specify Indian River Lagoon Juvenile Tarpon Study in the referral box.