UF/IFAS Launches Gulf Marine Animal Tracking Website

University of Florida –

Animal migrations are some of the most dramatic natural events on the planet, from wildebeest on the Serengeti to monarch butterflies traveling to Mexico. In fish, an iconic example of migration is salmon returning to their birth sites in huge numbers to spawn before they die.

However, there are still many unknowns in marine animal movement patterns, as their travel occurs underwater and often far offshore. Scientists at the University of Florida are changing this through a collaborative movement ecology research program that started in 2014. It’s called Integrated Tracking of Aquatic Animals in the Gulf of Mexico (iTAG).

The program’s new website launched April 8.

The iTAG website will help researchers throughout the Gulf and in neighboring regions track their animals. Electronically tracking animals over large distances allows scientists to better understand biodiversity hotspots and ecosystem processes.

Sue Lowerre-Barbieri, a research associate professor with the UF/IFAS School of Forest Resources and Conservation and a research scientist at the Fish and Wildlife Research Institute, serves as chair of the iTAG program.

“As part of a larger project, we started tracking red drum using acoustic telemetry. We quickly realized that we had no way to know where they went after leaving our monitored spawning aggregation site.

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