The University of Southampton
Engineering

Research project: Developing behavioural guidance technologies for European eel (Anguilla anguilla)

Currently Active: 
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European eel are particularly susceptible to damage and mortality at hydropower and water abstraction intakes. Mitigating for the negative impacts of such structures is a key focus of EU legislation (1100/2007/EC) aimed to restore declining eels stocks. This project will assess a range of potential guidance methods including manipulation of flow fields and infrasound to deter eel from deleterious routes.   

Project Overview

There is an urgent need to develop novel behavioural devices as an alternative to traditional mechanical screens for the mitigation of negative impacts of water resource infrastructure on eel populations. Telemetry techniques which enable fish to be tracked at sub-metre precision are used to provide new insight into complex behavioural responses to hydrodynamic and acoustic stimuli.

Downstream migrating adult eel are captured and implanted with acoustic transmitters and tracked through manipulated flow fields within a water intake channel. Movement paths are interrogated in relation to mapped hydrodynamics to identify areas of greatest response.

A further series of field trials will investigate the response of downstream migrating adult eel to an infrasound (< 20Hz) source at a redundant hydropower intake. Eel swim path characteristics on approach to the device will be compared and analysed in the context of mapped acoustic environments.

The results of this research will be used to formulate a behavioural rule-base of values for developing efficient non-mechanical devices to prevent ingress of eel into hazardous areas.

Acoustic an PIT transmitters
Acoustic and PIT transmitters
Silver eel (Anguilla anguilla)
Silver eel
Eel swim path overlain on mapped water velocities
Eel swim path

Related research groups

International Centre for Ecohydraulic Research

Publications

Key Publication

Staff

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