Acoustic Telemetry

One component of my dissertation aims to understand the drivers of striped bass movements while in northern Massachusetts and how they utilize different habitats. Things like the water temperature, tides, and time of day are possible determinants of their vertical and horizontal movement but we have yet to fully understand how these factors contribute to their summer behavior. Tag 7 (5)To examine these factors, we utilized a technique known in the scientific community as acoustic telemetry. Put simply, we caught striped bass, cut a small incision in the underbelly of each fish, inserted a small acoustic tag, sutured the fish up, and released them back into the wild. These tags emit a unique sound that travels through the water and eventually get picked up by underwater listening devices, known as acoustic receivers. These receivers were attached to buoys at predetermined intervals throughout our study area, so that if a fish entered within the range of detection of one of our receivers, we could determine the location of that fish. Other scientists have these same receivers all along the east coast which could also detect our fish. These tags can even last for up to two years, so we will be able to know where these fish go after departing Massachusetts and whether or not they return next year! The results from last year’s project are still being analyzed, but check out the video below for a look into a day on the water tagging striped bass.

Striped Bass Tagging Video