Examining the movement ecology and habitat utilization of black sea bass (Centropristis striata) in Chesapeake Bay using telemetry techniques

Principal investigators: Samir Patel and Ricky Alexander

Funding provided by:  NOAA Chesapeake Bay Fisheries Research Program


CFF researchers continue to examine the inshore-offshore movement ecology and habitat utilization of the commercially and recreationally important black sea bass. Tools and methods to be employed include the integration of passive, acoustic and satellite tagging techniques, the Chesapeake Bay Interpretive Buoy System, and citizen science volunteers from the Ocean Research Project FishFinder program. Specifically, CFF will conduct spring and autumn rod and reel surveys inshore and offshore to collect inhabitance, abundance and relative biological parameters of captured black sea bass, and develop a better understanding of their movement patterns and habitat usage within Chesapeake Bay. CFF will affix conventional spaghetti tags, acoustic telemetry tags, and pop-up satellite tags to captured individuals. Data collected will be used to analyze the relationship between environmental cues and movement patterns. To expand the reach of the project, CFF will rely on a network of citizen science volunteers from FishFinder to deploy additional mobile receivers within the Bay and along the east coast.

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Understanding ocean sunfish (Mola mola) ecology and biology in Cape Cod Bay
Principal investigators: Samir Patel and Amy Carlson
Funding provided by CFF.

Annual stranding of ocean sunfish in Cape Cod Bay, and the lack of data surrounding those events, necessitate the focused assessment of  of CFF, working collaboratively with the New England Coastal Wildlife Alliance (NECWA), aim to are answer some of the larger, overarching questions about these stranding events. Our study focuses on the influences on localized residence time in the bay and broad-scale migration patterns. As a partner in the collaborative “Team Mola,” CFF researchers affix our satellite and mark-recapture tags to live and stranded ocean sunfish and share the data. CFF also provides educational outreach about telemetry technology to the NECWA's stranding response volunteers and the general public.  Data gained from the tagging studies, as well as on-site necropsies and collection of external measurements advance our understanding of sunfish, and potentially prevent the increasing number of ocean sunfish strandings in Cape Cod waters.