Fish and Wildlife Research Institute


Acoustic Telemetry Research

Telemetry studies conducted at the FWC's Fish and Wildlife Research Institute use underwater acoustic transmitters and receivers to monitor movement patterns and other behaviors of a variety of aquatic animals. Collectively, these studies create an extensive network of receivers, maximizing the space and time over which tagged animals are monitored.


Biologists use acoustic telemetry in both saltwater and freshwater environments to study an assortment of species, from goliath grouper on deep offshore wrecks to largemouth bass in shallow streams and rivers.


Efforts to build a network for Gulf scientists tracking aquatic animals began at a 2014 workshop, where more than 50 scientists and vendors worked together to develop an Integrated Tracking of Aquatic Animals in the Gulf of Mexico Network (iTAG-n). The over-arching goal is to improve our understanding of animal migration and residency to assess stock resilience to spatially-explicit disturbances and provide important information needed for management. Shorter-term goals set at this first meeting were to: inventory existing telemetry investment in the Gulf, develop the means to exchange “orphan” detections (i.e., detections on receivers from fish other than the target species), continue to hold semi-annual meetings, finalize membership by-laws, and develop an Integrated Tracking of Aquatic Animals in the Gulf of Mexico Research (iTAG-r) component to demonstrate the need and benefits of tracking Gulf animals at the large marine ecosystem scale.

Since that first meeting, iTAG-n has had a second meeting and now is made up of 63 members (and growing) who have a total of ~2,200 animals tagged with over 1,000 receivers throughout the Gulf (iTAG Receiver Map). The iTAG-r component is led by Dr. Sue Lowerre-Barbieri, Dr. Jay Rooker, Dr. Will Patterson, Dr. Behzad Mahmoudi, and Dr. Clay Porch, working closely with Dr. Fred Whoriskey from the Ocean Tracking Network (OTN). The first iTAG-r study focuses on red snapper movements and how these are affected by habitat context and was made possible through OTN’s generous investment in acoustic receivers.

Telemetry Publications

Read telemetry articles published by marine fisheries researchers.

FACT Network


The Florida Atlantic Coast Telemetry (FACT) Array is a partnership of over two dozen marine research organizations using passive acoustic telemetry to reveal the behavior of fishes and sea turtles in US South Atlantic, Bahamas, and Caribbean Sea. Our members collectively maintain >850 submerged acoustic receivers that detect movements of animals tagged with acoustic transmitters. To date, the FACT Network researchers have tagged and released > 3,000 individuals from 60 different species. Information from these animals provides unique insights into a species’ habitat preferences, migration patterns, stock mixing, and survival. In addition to advancing our basic knowledge of these species, these results help guide management strategies for species of economic value to our region or those requiring special conservation attention. 


FWC Facts:
Smalltooth sawfish double their length from 2.5 feet at birth to 5 feet by the end of their first year in Florida’s estuarine nurseries.

Learn More at AskFWC