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Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

Use of Sound to Alter Behavior of Silver Carp and Bighead Carp

Principal Investigators: Jon Amberg (USGS) and Al Mensinger (UMN-D)

Impact of UMESC Science

These studies will provide information necessary for determining the efficacy of broadband sound or pure tones as tools within integrated pest management programs designed to manage bigheaded carps (Bighead Carp Hypophthalmichthys nobilis and Silver Carp H. molitrix). If effective, the application of underwater sound has the potential to be used by fishery management agencies to alter or disrupt the behavior of bigheaded carps. Work to evaluate the response of bigheaded carps to underwater sound is conducted in collaboration with Dr. Al Mensinger of the University of Minnesota-Duluth.

Introduction

The range of bigheaded carps continues to expand within the Mississippi River watershed with established populations in the Illinois, Mississippi, Missouri, and Ohio Rivers. Several deterrent technologies are being tested with the goal of inhibiting bigheaded carps from moving upstream or into sensitive aquatic areas, including the Great Lakes. Systems which limit movement of bigheaded carps without impacting navigation are of specific interest. The use of sound or noise is one such deterrent.

Knowing that the bigheaded carps are sensitive to boat motors and other noises in the field, it is plausible that sound might provide a low cost alternative or complement to other barrier or deterrent techniques. Results from pond and laboratory studies have indicated that both Silver Carp and Bighead Carp consistently respond to broadband, complex sounds, while many native fishes ignore or do not react to the acoustic stimuli. If effective, locations where sound might be deployed include lock chambers to deter upstream movement or boat-mounted speakers to “herd” fish into traps for removal. This study will assess the feasibility and efficacy of sound to alter the behavior of bigheaded carps in laboratory tanks, research ponds, and in a backwater of the Illinois River (in a controlled area with dimensions approximating the size of a typical lock approach channel) using sonar and telemetry. The goals are to determine how effective sound is as a behavioral deterrent to bigheaded carps and to better understand how sound affects the behavior of bigheaded carps and of other native and non-native fishes.

Objectives

  1. Determine the sensitivity of Silver Carp and Bighead Carp to broadband sounds, pure tones, and high frequency noise.

  2. Evaluate the efficacy of sound to deter bigheaded carps from moving through a constructed channel in test ponds.

  3. Evaluate the effect of sound on the behavior of native fish species such as paddlefish and bigmouth buffalo.

  4. Assess the effect of temperature on the response of bigheaded carps to sound stimuli.

  5. Describe the response of bigheaded carps (spatial occupancy, passage) following application of broadband sound within a simulated lock approach channel.

  6. Identify seasons and locations where stationary or mobile acoustic deterrents (sound) are most effective for use within an Integrated Pest Management program.

  7. Determine whether sound is more effective when used alone or combined with other barrier or deterrent technologies within an Integrated Pest Management program
Figure 1. Juvenile Silver Carp used to evaluate the efficacy of sound as a deterrent in test ponds.

Figure 1. Juvenile Silver Carp used to evaluate the efficacy of sound as a deterrent in test ponds.

  Figure 2. Field implementation of sound as a deterrent to movement of bigheaded carp through a constructed lock approach channel. Six speakers are suspended off rafts across the middle of the channel, and a recording of a boat motor was played in both directions (to the left and right in the photograph) to deter fish passage through the channel.

Figure 2. Field implementation of sound as a deterrent to movement of bigheaded carp through a constructed lock approach channel. Six speakers are suspended off rafts across the middle of the channel, and a recording of a boat motor was played in both directions (to the left and right in the photograph) to deter fish passage through the channel.

Figure 3. Concrete test pond (prior to filling with water) used for evaluating the effect of sound on bigheaded carp behavior. Speakers are located at the near and far ends.

Figure 3. Concrete test pond (prior to filling with water) used for evaluating the effect of sound on bigheaded carp behavior. Speakers are located at the near and far ends.

  Figure 4. A Silver Carp tagged with an acoustic transmitter (black tag located on the fish’s back) to monitor movement in the field. Fish were monitored in response to the recording of a boat motor.

Figure 4. A Silver Carp tagged with an acoustic transmitter (black tag located on the fish’s back) to monitor movement in the field. Fish were monitored in response to the recording of a boat motor.

 

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