In Situ Tagging and Tracking of Coral Reef Fishes from the Aquarius Undersea Laboratory
We surgically implanted coded-acoustic transmitters in a total of 46 coral reef fish during a saturation mission to the Aquarius Undersea Laboratory in August 2002. Aquarius is located within the Conch Reef Research Only Area, a no-take marine reserve in the northern Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary. Over the course of 10 days, with daily bottom times of 7 hrs, saturation diving operations allowed us to collect, surgically tag, release, and subsequently track fishes entirely in situ. Fish were collected using baited traps deployed adjacent to the reef as well as nets manipulated on the bottom by divers. Surgical implantation of acoustic transmitters was conducted at a mobile surgical station that was moved to different sites across the reef. Each fish was revived from anesthetic and released as divers swam the fish about the reef. Short-term tracking of tagged fish was conducted by saturation divers, while long-term fish movement was recorded by a series of acoustic receivers deployed on the seafloor. Though not designed as an explicit comparison with surface tagging operations, the benefits of working entirely in situ were apparent.
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Document Type: Short Communication
Publication date: 2005-03-01
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