Spatial ecology and residency patterns of adult great barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda) in coastal waters of The Bahamas
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Great barracuda (Sphyraena barracuda) were implanted with acoustic telemetry transmitters (n = 42) and monitored within a stationary acoustic receiver array (n = 53 receivers) in The Bahamas to examine residency, seasonal movements, and habitat use. Barracuda were monitored for up to 980 days and remained within the array area ~33% (median value) of the time. Most tagged barracuda were transient and would often disappear from the array for months at a time, particularly in the summer where they were usually last detected on receivers located in deeper shelf habitats, and then return at other times in the year. Habitat use across the footprint of the array differed, with most detections occurring in coastal areas and comparatively fewer in deeper mosaic or shelf habitats. Linear home range estimates revealed that some barracuda moved >12 km within a single day and are capable of migrating >100 km to other islands in the Bahamian Archipelago. Our results provide some of the first telemetry data for this apex marine predatory fish and the first reliable information on the residency and localized seasonal movements of adult great barracuda in the coastal waters of the Western Atlantic.
KeywordsHome Range Patch Reef Tidal Creek Receiver Array Acoustic Telemetry
The authors would like to acknowledge the staff and volunteers at the Cape Eleuthera Institute and The Island School. Thank you to A. Shultz, C. Haak, K. Murchie, K. Hanson, C. Pullen, K. Pullen, and J. Cooke for field and laboratory assistance and to Aleksandra Maljkovic for sharing movement information. The Bahamas Department of Marine Resources provided scientific collection permits and animal care approval was obtained from the Canadian Council on Animal Care through Carleton University. The receiver array was partially supported by grants from Bonefish and Tarpon Trust, the Charles A. and Anne Morrow Lindbergh Foundation, and the Baldwin Foundation. Additional financial support was provided by Ontario Ministry of Research and Innovation (through an Early Researcher Award to S.J.C.), the Canada Foundation for Innovation, the Canada Research Chairs Program, and Carleton University.
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