Masking a fish's detection of environmental stimuli: application to improving downstream migration at river infrastructure.


:According to Signal Detection Theory, the ability to detect a stimulus (discriminability, d') is inversely related to the magnitude of internal and external noise. In this study, downstream moving brown trout Salmo trutta were used to investigate whether external hydrodynamic noise (in this case turbulence) could mask a signal that induced an unwanted response, such as rejecting accelerating velocity gradients commonly encountered at entrances to fish bypass channels. S. trutta behaviour was quantified in the absence (control) or presence of an accelerating velocity gradient created by an unconstricted or constricted channel, respectively, under two levels (low and high) of background turbulent kinetic energy (hydrodynamic noise). Experiments were conducted in an indoor recirculating flume in the dark and a range of passage metrics were quantified. Under the control condition, most (ca. 91%) S. trutta passed, usually oriented downstream (67%), with minimal delay (median 0.13 min). In comparison, fewer S. trutta (ca. 43%) passed under constricted conditions, they tended to orient facing into the flow (ca. 64%) and delay was greater (median > 20 min). When viewed from a coarse-scale perspective, discriminability of the velocity gradient was lower when turbulence was high suggesting masking of the signal occurred. However, the resulting increase in the percentage of fish that passed, decrease in time to pass and reduction in the distance at which S. trutta reacted (switched orientation) was subtle and non-significant. Despite the mixed results obtained, the use of masking to manipulate an animal's perception of environmental stimuli as a fisheries management tool is conceptually valid and the results of this experiment present a useful stepping stone for future research.


J Fish Biol


Journal of fish biology


Kerr JR,Kemp PS




Has Abstract


2019-07-01 00:00:00












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