If you fish for tarpon in the Atlantic or Gulf of Mexico, Bonefish & Tarpon Trust might need you to collect fin clips for its Tarpon Isotope Study. This research is designed to shed light on the diet needs of tarpon migrating along the Gulf and northern coasts.
You are what you eat, and this is true for tarpon and every other living creature. Tarpon incorporate the chemical makeup of what they eat into their body tissue. So, by taking small fin clip samples from tarpon, scientists can estimate what tarpon eat without having to use more invasive techniques, such as gut content analysis.
Through this process, the study can link juvenile and adult tarpon movements and habitat use to prey group, including important forage fish such as menhaden. Determining the connections between prey species and habitats will fill knowledge gaps related to the reliance of tarpon on regional prey groups that are important along the silver king’s seasonal migration. The study’s results can inform improved management of forage fish, which are essential to the health of the tarpon fishery.
If you fish for adult or juvenile tarpon and want to participate in this important research project, click the link below.