Ross Boucek and iTAG

by David Westmark

It seems like just yesterday we were welcoming post-Doctoral fellow, Ross Boucek to the Fish Bio lab fold. But, though somewhat brief, during his stay Dr. Boucek has delivered boatloads of accomplishments. Last September Dr. Sue Lowerre-Barbieri charged Ross with amping up awareness of the collaborative iTAG effort in which FWRI is a leading participant.

iTAG deacronymizes to Integrated Tracking of Aquatic Animals in the Gulf (of Mexico). One of Ross’s biggest tasks was to use his prolific publishing skills, developed from building a prodigious bibliography, to write and publish a review article on the spatial ecology of key managed species in the Gulf of Mexico, expanding on key research needs for these species moving forward. The review is currently in progress and will be published in a special issue Sue and Ross are organizing in the Journal of Marine Science. Movement data derived from telemetry can inform ecosystem-based modeling, identify population structure and harvest management boundaries, as well as spawning sites and marine protected area (MPA) design.

Other work on behalf of the iTAG Steering Committee involved building awareness of the iTAG effort through outreach and social media. An extensive and vast network like iTAG produces significant orphaned data so in his “spare time”, Ross continues to help match the data to its appropriate recipient or project.

Finally, Ross and Sue have worked jointly on other local projects, examining fine scale space use by trout and snook of spawning sites in Tampa Bay, as well as using novel seascape metrics to predict where unknown trout spawning sites occur in Florida Bay. If you want to keep track of Ross, he will be devoting his talents to the telemetry work underway by the Tarpon and Bonefish Trust. Why not wish him well with a farewell post to the iTAG Facebook page?

Browse more information about telemetry research underway at FWRI.