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Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

Water guns as behavioral deterrents to Asian carp

Principal Investigators: Jon Amberg

Impact of UMESC Science

The results of this work will provide protocols for the proper and safe operation of water guns to intentionally influence fish behavior.  If water guns can be used to exclude fish from localized areas then they may be useful tools to deter the advancement of invasive carp from the Mississippi River basin into the Great Lakes basin.  

Introduction

Water guns are pneumatic tools that were created to make seismic sounds for oceanic hydrocarbon exploration.  They were experimentally deployed as seismic tools in the 1980’s; however, it was determined that they did not conform to rigorous timing constraints needed for coordinated gun firing as compared to seismic air guns.  Air guns are still widely used today for seismic exploration work and water guns are not.  Water guns were also suspected of producing low frequency sounds that may injure aquatic marine life.  In 2010, it was hypothesized that if water guns are injurious to aquatic life, then they may be a useful tool to deter the advancement of invasive carp from the Mississippi River basin into the Great Lakes basin.

Objectives

  1. Develop methods to deploy high-pressure air-driven water guns as a barrier to fish movement
  2. Determine if water guns alter the relative/spatial occupancy of fish in controlled pond experiments and larger scale field applications
  3. Determine if water guns alter the direction of movement of adult-sized invasive carp within lentic and lotic systems

Figure 2: High pressure air-driven water gun.

Figure 2: High pressure air-driven water gun.

Figure 3: Scientist monitoring water gun operation.

Figure 3: Scientist monitoring water gun operation.

Figure 1: UMESC Scientist showing Silver Carp on left and Bighead Carp on right.

Figure 1: UMESC Scientist showing Silver Carp on left and Bighead Carp on right.

 

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