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ESR 35:159-168 (2018)  -  DOI:

Behavioural guidance of yellow-stage American eel Anguilla rostrata with a light-emitting diode device

Chris K. Elvidge1,4,*, Matthew I. Ford1, Thomas C. Pratt2, Karen E. Smokorowski2, Michael Sills3, Paul H. Patrick3, Steven J. Cooke1

1Fish Ecology and Conservation Physiology Laboratory, Department of Biology, Carleton University, Ottawa, ON, K1S 5B6, Canada
2Great Lakes Laboratory for Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Fisheries and Oceans Canada, Sault Ste Marie, ON, P6A 2E5, Canada
3ATET-TECH Incorporated, Thornhill, ON, L4J 6X8, Canada
4Present address: Department of Biology, University of Eastern Finland, PO Box 111, Joensuu, 81010 Finland
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Providing safe downstream passage for outmigrating freshwater eels around hydroelectric facilities, especially on large river systems, is a daunting challenge. With engineering limitations on the installation of physical barriers, behavioural guidance research is needed to steer outmigrating eels towards safe passage or collection facilities. We exposed late, yellow-stage American eel Anguilla rostrata to different colours and strobing frequency of light-emitting diode (LED) light, or to unlit control trials, in y-maze dichotomous choice tests. Eels demonstrated initial attraction towards the y-maze structure and entered the dark (control) side more often and for a longer duration compared to the illuminated side. Blue light strobing at 30 Hz elicited the greatest initial avoidance response and eels spent less time on the light side with this treatment, and we recommend that this setting be tested further under field conditions. Although the initial avoidance of all light settings attenuated over the 5 min observations, this attenuation may be less relevant when eels are engaged in active migration, and thus  may provide a viable means of guiding eels to safe outmigration paths.

KEY WORDS: Hydropower · Turbines · Outmigration · Light guidance device · Strobing lights · LED

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Cite this article as: Elvidge CK, Ford MI, Pratt TC, Smokorowski KE, Sills M, Patrick PH, Cooke SJ (2018) Behavioural guidance of yellow-stage American eel Anguilla rostrata with a light-emitting diode device. Endang Species Res 35:159-168.

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