Fishways have been developed to restore longitudinal connectivity in rivers. Despite their potential for aiding fish passage, fishways may represent a source of significant energetic expenditure for fish as they are highly turbulent environments. Nonetheless, our understanding of the physiological mechanisms underpinning fishway passage of fish is still limited. We examined swimming behaviour and activity of silver redhorse (Moxostoma anisurum) during its upriver spawning migration in a vertical slot fishway. We used an accel-erometer-derived instantaneous activity metric (overall dynamic body acceleration) to estimate location-specific swimming activity. Silver redhorse demonstrated progressive increases in activity during upstream fishway passage. Moreover, location-specific passage duration decreased with an increasing number of passage attempts. Turning basins and the most upstream basin were found to delay fish passage. No relationship was found between basin-specific passage duration and activity and the respective values from previous basins. The results demonstrate that successful fishway passage requires periods of high activity. The resultant energetic expenditure may affect fitness, foraging behaviour and increase susceptibility to predation, compromising population sustainability. This study highlights the need to understand the physiological mechanisms underpinning fishway passage to improve future designs and interpretation of biological evaluations.
Silva, A., Hatry, C., Thiem, J., Gutowsky, L. F. G., Hatin, D., Zhu, D. Z., Dawson, J. W., Katopodis, C., & Cooke, S. J. (2015). Behaviour and locomotor activity of a migratory catostomid during fishway passage. PLoS One, 10(4), 1-15. https://doi.org/10.1371/journal.pone.0123051