Mar 17

Group behavior and tolerance of Eurasian minnow (Phoxinus phoxinus) in response to tones of differing pulse repetition rate

Research Article

Published Online: 17 March 2020
Behavioral guidance systems are commonly used in freshwater fish conservation. The biological relevance of sound to fish and recorded responses to human-generated noise supports the viability of the use of acoustics as an effective stimulus in such technologies. Relatively little information exists on the long-term responses and recovery of fish to repeated acoustic exposures. In a controlled laboratory study, the response and tolerance of Eurasian minnow (Phoxinus phoxinus) shoals to tonal signals (150 Hz of 1 s pulse duration) differing only in temporal characteristics (“continuous,” “slow,” “intermediate,” or “fast” pulse repetition rate) were investigated. In comparison to independent control groups, fish increased their mean group swimming speed, decreased inter-individual distance, and became more aligned in response to the onset of all four acoustic treatments. The magnitude of response, and time taken to develop a tolerance to a treatment differed according to pulse repetition rate. Groups were found to have the greatest and longest lasting response to tone sequences tested in this study when they were pulsed at an intermediate rate of 0.2 s−1. This study illustrates the importance of understanding the response of fish to acoustic signals, and will assist toward the development of longer-term effective acoustic guidance systems.

Schematic of experimental flume setup including the experimental area in which fish were exposed to acoustic stimuli. Hydrophone positions are shown for acoustic mapping at three water depths (7 cm; 13.5 cm; 20 cm), with “X” indicating the position at which sound pressure levels (RMS) (dB re 1 μPa) were standardized.