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Title: Comparing the survival rate of juvenile Chinook salmon migrating through hydropower systems using injectable and surgical acoustic transmitters

Acoustic telemetry is one of the primary technologies for studying the behavior and survival of fishes throughout the world. The size and performance of the transmitters is still the key limiting factor despite that considerable effort has been expended to understand the biological effects of implantation of acoustic transmitters in yearling and subyearling Chinook salmon. The newly developed injectable transmitter is the first active acoustic tag that can be implanted via injection instead of surgery. It also lasts more than four times longer than the commercially-available transmitters. A two-part field study was conducted to evaluate the performance of the injectable transmitter and its effect on the survival of implanted fish. The injectable transmitter performed well and similarly to the other commercially-available transmitters tested. Snake River subyearling Chinook salmon smolts implanted with the injectable tag had a higher survival probability from release to each of 11 downstream detection arrays than concurrent releases of fish surgically implanted with commercially-available tags. In addition, reach-specific survival estimates were significantly higher for the injectable group in three of the eleven reaches examined. Overall, the injectable group had a 0.263 (SE = 0.017) survival probability over the entire 500 km study area compared to 0.199 (0.012)more » for the surgically implanted group. The differences in survival may have been caused by warm water temperatures and higher rates of infection experienced by the surgically implanted group due to the presence of sutures acting as an attachment site for pathogens. The reduction in size and ability to implant the new transmitter via injection has further reduced the tag or tagging effect bias associated with studying small fishes. As a result, the information gathered with this new technology is helping minimize the impact of dams on fish, leading to more environmentally sustainable energy systems.« less
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  1. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
  2. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, Vicksburg, MS (United States)
  3. Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States); Mainstem Fish Research, Richland, WA (United States)
  4. U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, Portland, OR (United States)
  5. Univ. of Washington, Seattle, WA (United States)
Publication Date:
Report Number(s):
Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322; 400403209
Grant/Contract Number:
Accepted Manuscript
Journal Name:
Scientific Reports
Additional Journal Information:
Journal Volume: 7; Journal ID: ISSN 2045-2322
Nature Publishing Group
Research Org:
Pacific Northwest National Lab. (PNNL), Richland, WA (United States)
Sponsoring Org:
Country of Publication:
United States
13 HYDRO ENERGY; 54 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES; acoustic telemetry; juvenile salmon; environmental impact; freshwater ecology
OSTI Identifier: