The Bahamas Weekly Facebook The Bahamas Weekly Twitter
News : Local Last Updated: May 4, 2013 - 2:06:32 AM


Research Demystifies Bonefish Movement Patterns in The Bahamas
By Office of Communication, The College of The Bahamas
Apr 16, 2013 - 5:57:14 PM

Email this article
 Printer friendly page
boneper.JPG
Nassau, Bahamas - Tracing the movement patterns of bonefish is no small feat; anglers admit that the popular sport fish is difficult to catch because of its enigmatic colouring. But Assistant Professor in the School of Chemistry Environmental and Life Sciences at The College of The Bahamas Dr. Karen Murchie and her team tracked 15 bonefish for six months and discovered information that could impact the ecology and the economy of The Bahamas.

Using waters off the south end of Eleuthera as their laboratory, from Starved Creek to Cape Eleuthera, the researchers used acoustic telemetry or tagging and tracking to study the movements of adult bonefish. In a carefully planned and executed process, 47 adult bonefish were surgically implanted with transmitters.  Additionally, 27 receivers were positioned along a 14-mile stretch of coastline in creeks, near-shore and off-shore habitat zones to listen for and record the movements of tagged bonefish.

After releasing the 47 bonefish, 45 were detected in the array of receivers, which allowed the researchers to collect over 300,000 data points.  In their investigations, they examined daily and seasonal movement patterns, habitat use, how tides influenced their movement and the dynamics of bonefish schooling behavior.

“Previous studies on adult bonefish movement patterns carried out in Florida or The Bahamas by other researchers were largely unsuccessful in the past because they typically were only able to track a few fish for a short amount of time.  In our study we had 15 bonefish that were tracked for six months or more, and even one fish detected for 611 days” Dr. Murchie explained.  “The benefit of the extended data set is that we can actually start to see seasonal trends in movement and it is also apparent that individual fish have periods of time where they are home bodies and don’t travel too far, and other times when they are more exploratory.”

Dr. Murchie recently shared the results of that study titled “Bonefish movement patterns and energetics - knowledge gained from acoustic telemetry studies in Eleuthera, The Bahamas” at the recently held National Natural History Conference that took place at The College of The Bahamas. The conference was a deliberate step towards properly archiving the results of these kinds of research on The Bahamas so that they can be easily accessible for the public, scholars and policymakers.

The information collected on the movement patterns of adult bonefish will be very useful for establishing conservation and management strategies to protect the species. This also has particular implications when approvals are being considered for tourism related capital developments in environmentally sensitive areas.   

“We are observing what these fish are doing when they are not being affected by humans. This information is really important because if what we start to see is that a large population of bonefish are repeatedly using the same types of habitats – and if there were some sort of development, like a resort or something that wanted to come in, clear out all these mangroves and habitats that are very important in the adult stage of the bonefish life cycle – that can have a huge impact on their populations because that could have been a prime feeding area for them,” Dr. Murchie said.

“Also, on a bigger scale, bonefish are just one of the species that live in these areas. So, some of the information that we gain from how bonefish live in these types of environments could apply to other species as well,” she added.

Researchers believe that further studies must be completed on bonefish in The Bahamas to understand their ecology and determine which areas should be protected to ensure a healthy ecosystem and economy.


Bookmark and Share


© Copyright 2013 by thebahamasweekly.com

Top of Page

Local
Latest Headlines
More Vendors Sign On For Eleuthera Business Outlook
Pineapple Air and Avvy Bahamas announce Partnership
Bahamas FATCA Agreement Reached
Bahamas government verifies validity of Bank of the Bahamas (BOB)
College of The Bahamas President Finalists Announced
Kenred Dorsett on DEHS Employee Demonstrations
Brave Davis: The Evolution of Financial Services in The Bahamas: A Fit Survivor
CWC and Government of The Bahamas reach agreement to create BTC Foundation for Bahamians
COB Celebrating “A Legacy of Leadership” in 40th Anniversary Events
"Bahamas Union of Teachers cries shame on the Director of Education"
B.U.T.: Illegal fingerprinting of teacher in Bahamas
BTVI to Facilitate Maintenance Course in Berry Islands
Bahamas Ministry of Finance Launches VAT Hotline
Chamber Chief Optimistic About Eleuthera’s Economic Future
Eleuthera Business Outlook Set For April 24
Insurance Company to Launch Cyber Liability Product
Anglican Church Men to Launch Youth Mentoring Initiative
Bimini Sands Bahamas joins Guy Harvey Outpost Expedition Collection
Suze Orman Seminar Coming to The Bahamas
BTC Launches Sales of new Samsung Galaxy S5 Smart Phone
PM, Minister, Financial Secretary Agree: Payroll Tax Not a Viable Option
CHEC Americas Engages Bahamian Engineering Firm on North Abaco Port Project
Treasure Cay Environmental Damage ‘Irreparable, Heartbreaking,’ Abaco Chief Councilor Says
Polymers International statement on Gregory Ebelhar
Bahamas police find 4 burnt bodies on remote cay
‘Back on Track’ Compensation Package for BTC Customers
South Andros Coastal Restoration & Coconut Project to Launch
Bahamas Maritime Pilots Assoc. on member resignations
Bahamas Disability Bill one step closer to reality
Top judge warns against permits for Bimini developer
Construction on $39 Million North Abaco Port to Start in Two Months
Commonwealth Parliamentary Association (Bahamas) to host Post Election Seminar
BTC Explains Service Disruption Saturday March 22nd.
Marine Biologist: Research Shows Significant Effects of Bimini Development on Marine Environment
The Celebrity Artist Off to Rome to Present to the Pope
EARTHCARE: Finalize the North Bimini Marine Reserve Now
(Video) Remarks of Dr Franklin Walkine at The 42 Annual Scientific Conference‏
Mega-resort policy branded a threat to Family Island way of life
Bahamas Crisis Centre responds to the Hon Leslie Miller’s Cheque presentation
"Impacts of the Resorts World Bimini Cruise Ship Terminal"