Fish Telemetry Short Course

June 28

Coordination: Pedro R. Almeida (MARE / University of Évora)

Invited lecturers: Finn Økland (NINA - Norwegian Institute for Nature Research); Theodore Castro-Santos (S.O. Conte Anadromous Fish Research Center, USGS-Leetown Science Center); Bernardo Quintella (MARE / University of Évora); Carlos Alexandre (MARE / University of Évora).

08h30 – Reception of participants

9h00 - Introduction to biotelemetry methods (including radio, acoustic and PIT tags) - Finn Økland

  • Most common electronic fish tags and associated technologies;
  • Ethical issues: how to catch, tag and release wild fish;
  • Case-studies will focus on how to select the best equipment for a project, animal welfare and project design;

10h30 – Coffee break

10h45 – Practical demonstration on satellite tagging, external radio and internal tagging with radio and acoustic tags - Finn Økland

12h30 – Lunch

13:30h – Data treatment on biotelemetry studies (Part I) – Ted Castro-Santos

  • Considerations of telemetry methods and how they frame ability to quantify movement
    1. Transmission rate, detection range, detection efficiency;
    2. Data types (Receiver data, tagging data, environmental/operational data);
    3. Introduction to relational databases;
    4. Identifying and removing false positives.
  • Considerations of fish behaviour near fishways
    1. Concept of migratory and behavioural ‘states’ and how telemetry can be used to disentangle behaviors;
    2. Identifying occupancy bouts (Temporal occupancy analysis);

15h30 – Coffee break

15h45 – Data treatment on biotelemetry studies (Part II) - Ted Castro-Santos

  • Quantifying Performance using Proportions/percentages
    1. Percent arrival;
    2. Percent entry;
    3. Percent passage;
    4. Limitations of the approach.
  • Why we should all be using time-to-event for quantification of telemetry data
    1. Competing risks (rates);
    2. Time-varying covariates;
    3. Brief introduction to concept of time-to-event analysis, how it works, why it solves outstanding problems like time-varying covariates;
    4. Dealing with migratory Motivation—we can quantify this and account for it.

17h15 - Case study presentations

17h15 - Biotelemetry studies conducted within the Mondego restoration projects - B.R. Quintella

For the last 10 years biotelemetry have been used to evaluate a vertical slot fish pass and several nature-like fish passes that were installed in the Mondego River (Portugal) to recover upstream habitat for migratory species. The monitoring studies conducted allowed to evaluate the behaviour of potamodromous, anadromous and catadromous species in the vicinity of the obstacles to migrations (i.e., dam and weirs). PIT telemetry is being used to assess the efficiency of the fish passes to all target species. Conventional radio telemetry and EMG (electromyogram) telemetry was used to evaluate the fine scale behaviour and muscular effort performed downstream the dam/weirs and when using the fish pass. Acoustic telemetry was the method selected to assess the downstream migration delays of catadromous species when facing obstacles. The focus of the presentation will be on the selection of the most convenient biotelemetry method for a particular monitoring task and also on the advantages and limitations of each of these methods.

18h00 – GAMEFISH: Study of largemouth-bass behaviour in small Mediterranean reservoir using VPS analysis - C.M. Alexandre

This presentation will provide insights on the application of a tri-dimensional positioning acoustic system – VPS – VEMCO Positioning System – for fine-scale monitoring of fish behaviour. In this case-study VPS was used to analyse the behaviour and habitat use of largemouth bass in a reservoir from the south of Portugal. This lecture will provide details on the methods for VPS application, exemplify the results that can be obtained and suggest how VPS can be used for fish passage monitoring.

18:45h – Short course conclusion