FSUCML Researchers Tag 7 Large Sawfish in Three Days in Everglades National Park!

The FSUCML sawfish research team recently completed their first tagging trip of 2021. Consisting of FSUCML faculty member Dr. Dean Grubbs, FSU graduate students Ashley Dawdy and Blake Hamilton, and UNF graduate student Kristin Palmrose from Dr. Jim Gelsleichter’s lab, the team successfully tagged 7 large endangered smalltooth sawfish (Pristis pectinata) over three days (authorized under federal permit #22078). The sawfish ranged in length from 272 to 422 cm (9 to 14 feet).  In addition, over a total of five sampling days the team caught 131 sharks, including 53 bull sharks. Blood collected from the 7 sawfish will contribute to efforts by Dr. Gelsleicther’s lab to study the reproductive cycle and periodicity for smalltooth sawfish. The sawfish were tagged with a simple identification streamer tag and a small microchip tag similar to those carried by dogs and cats. In addition, they are now equipped with acoustic transmitters that can be detected by any of the thousands of receivers distributed along U.S. Atlantic and Gulf coasts (see the recent paper led by former FSUCML student Jasmin Graham). These latest sawfish will contribute to Dawdy’s masters research as part of the team’s efforts to determine the habitats that are most important for survival and reproduction in this federally endangered species and to determine where they are at highest risk due to fishery bycatch, pollution and habitat degradation. Click through the gallery below to expand the pictures.