Assessment of Barotrauma Resulting from Rapid Decompression of Depth Acclimated Juvenile Chinook Salmon Bearing Radio Telemetry Transmitters

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A multifactor study was conducted by Battelle for the US Army Corps of Engineers to assess the significance of the presence of a radio telemetry transmitter on the effects of rapid decompression from simulated hydro turbine passage on depth acclimated juvenile run-of-the-river Chinook salmon. Study factors were: (1) juvenile chinook salmon age;, subyearling or yearling, (2) radio transmitter present or absent, (3) three transmitter implantation factors: gastric, surgical, and no transmitter, and (4) four acclimation depth factors: 1, 10, 20, and 40 foot submergence equivalent absolute pressure, for a total of 48 unique treatments. Exposed fish were examined for changes ... continued below

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Brown, Richard S.; Carlson, Thomas J.; Welch, Abigail E.; Stephenson, John R.; Abernethy, Cary S.; McKinstry, Craig A. et al. September 6, 2007.

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A multifactor study was conducted by Battelle for the US Army Corps of Engineers to assess the significance of the presence of a radio telemetry transmitter on the effects of rapid decompression from simulated hydro turbine passage on depth acclimated juvenile run-of-the-river Chinook salmon. Study factors were: (1) juvenile chinook salmon age;, subyearling or yearling, (2) radio transmitter present or absent, (3) three transmitter implantation factors: gastric, surgical, and no transmitter, and (4) four acclimation depth factors: 1, 10, 20, and 40 foot submergence equivalent absolute pressure, for a total of 48 unique treatments. Exposed fish were examined for changes in behavior, presence or absence of barotrauma injuries, and immediate or delayed mortality. Logistic models were used to test hypotheses that addressed study objectives. The presence of a radio transmitter was found to significantly increase the risk of barotrauma injury and mortality at exposure to rapid decompression. Gastric implantation was found to present a higher risk than surgical implantation. Fish were exposed within 48 hours of transmitter implantation so surgical incisions were not completely healed. The difference in results obtained for gastric and surgical implantation methods may be the result of study design and the results may have been different if tested fish had completely healed surgical wounds. However, the test did simulate the typical surgical-release time frame for in-river telemetry studies of fish survival so the results are probably representative for fish passing through a turbine shortly following release into the river. The finding of a significant difference in response to rapid decompression between fish bearing radio transmitters and those not implies a bias may exist in estimates of turbine passage survival obtained using radio telemetry. However, the rapid decompression (simulated turbine passage) conditions used for the study represented near worst case exposure for fish passing through turbines. At this time, insufficient data exist about the distribution of river-run fish entering turbines, and particularly, the distribution of fish passing through turbine runners, to extrapolate study findings to the population of fish passing through FCRPS turbines. This study is the first study examining rapid decompression study to include acclimation depth as an experimental factor for physostomous fish. We found that fish acclimated to deeper depth were significantly more vulnerable to barotrauma injury and death. Insufficient information about the distribution of fish entering turbines and their depth acclimation currently exists to extrapolate these findings to the population of fish passing through turbines. However, the risk of barotrauma for turbine-passed fish could be particularly high for subyearling Chinook salmon that migrate downstream at deeper depths late in the early summer portion of the outmigration. Barotrauma injuries led to immediate mortality delayed mortality and potential mortality due to increased susceptibility to predation resulting from loss of equilibrium or swim bladder rupture.

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  • Report No.: PNNL-16790
  • Grant Number: AC05-76RL01830
  • DOI: 10.2172/914683 | External Link
  • Office of Scientific & Technical Information Report Number: 914683
  • Archival Resource Key: ark:/67531/metadc887496

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  • September 6, 2007

Added to The UNT Digital Library

  • Sept. 22, 2016, 2:13 a.m.

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  • Nov. 22, 2016, 7:55 p.m.

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Brown, Richard S.; Carlson, Thomas J.; Welch, Abigail E.; Stephenson, John R.; Abernethy, Cary S.; McKinstry, Craig A. et al. Assessment of Barotrauma Resulting from Rapid Decompression of Depth Acclimated Juvenile Chinook Salmon Bearing Radio Telemetry Transmitters, report, September 6, 2007; Richland, Washington. (digital.library.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metadc887496/: accessed November 22, 2017), University of North Texas Libraries, Digital Library, digital.library.unt.edu; crediting UNT Libraries Government Documents Department.