b'Dennis G. Punches Marine Science Fund UpdatePhD student Awardee: Lauren KircherAdvisor: Dr. John Baldwin, Professor of Biological Sciences, FAUReceiving the PBCFFs inaugural Dennis G. Punches Marinecomparisons between sys-Science Fund has allowed me to excel in my doctorate programtems. This experiment will at Florida Atlantic University (FAU). Over the past year, I havebe applicable for both our presented talks and posters at national, regional, and insti- research and many scien-tutional scientific meetings. I have been collaborating withtists in the FACT network, FWC Tequesta Research Lab utilizing their passive acousticby providing more detailed telemetry data to study common snook movement in St. Lu- range parameters in these cie estuary. My dissertation has several chapters including:two important estuaries. It is examining snook movement during high water dischargepossible that we may actually beLauren Kircher & events, determining the main environmental influences ondetecting less tagged fish than areDr. John Baldwin in snook movement during non-spawning season, examiningpresent in the area if the ranges arethe fieldresistance and resilience of snook to environmental distur- decreased. Even outside of those bance events, and range testing acoustic receivers in differ- two specific estuaries, we hope this ent habitats which is an important factor in my study andstudy will give some guidelines to other researchers that will be applied to other telemetry studies in Florida.will be more widely applicable based on habitat type and While researching snook movement during high waterenvironmental conditions.discharges, we found that not all tagged snook respond inI have also become newly involved in a collaboration with the same way. Telemetry studies are starting to examineFWC St Petersburg and Florida International University to behavioral contingents where within a population there arecompare how common snook movements and environmental several groups that each exhibit a unique behavior, in thisdrivers statewide in habitats that are more natural (Ever-case movement patterns. We are identifying these movementglades Natural Park) and more developed and urbanized (St. types during the high discharge and examining character- Lucie). At least one publication will result from each of my istics of those individuals (sex, size, tagging location) thatfour chapters, in addition to these collaborations. I will also may explain or predict their movement type. I will also becontinue presenting my research at scientific conferences. presenting a poster on this chapter at the upcoming meet- I greatly appreciate the support from the PBCFF and will ing for Florida Chaptercontinue providing you with updates on my progress.of American Fisheries-Lauren KircherSociety(AFS).The Dennis G. Punches fund is directly sup-portingtherange testing portion of my project as well as my presentations at sci-entific conferences such as Florida AFS. Usinganacous-tic array of receivers Kircher & WPBFCalong with implanted president Tom Twyford tagged fish is one way fisheries biologists examine how fish move and respond to changes in their environment. Range testing is an important validation method in this research. An acoustic receiver has a range over which it can detect an acoustic transmitter im-planted in a fish. The distance of this range can be affected by the surrounding vegetation, bathymetry, environmental noise, current, weather, and anthropogenic noise. Range testing has not been conducted in St. Lucie estuary and with the high discharges our actual range may be much smaller and even ineffective at certain times. We will be range test-ing transmitters with the help of the Punches fund and are collaborating with Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institute and FWC Tequesta to complete the range testing study. Conducting range tests in both St. Lucie and Loxahatchee estuaries in similar habitat types will allow us to make'