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Water guns affect abundance and behavior of bigheaded carp and native fish differently
- Rivera, JoséM., Glover, DavidC., Kocovsky, PatrickM., Garvey, JamesE., Gaikowski, MarkP., Jensen, NathanR., Adams, RyanF.
- Biological invasions 2018 v.20 no.5 pp. 1243-1255
- Hypophthalmichthys molitrix, Hypophthalmichthys nobilis, Ictiobus bubalus, ecological invasion, fish, geophysics, indigenous species, quarries, shorelines, surveys, Illinois River
- Water guns have shown the potential to repel nuisance aquatic organisms. This study examines the effects of exposure to a 1966.4 cm³ seismic water gun array (two guns) on the abundance and behavior of Bighead Carp Hypophthalmichthys nobilis, Silver Carp H. molitrix (collectively referred to as bigheaded carp) and native fishes (e.g., Smallmouth Buffalo Ictiobus bubalus). Water guns were deployed in a channel that connects the Illinois River to backwater quarry pits that contained a large transient population of bigheaded carp. To evaluate the effect of water guns, mobile side-looking split-beam hydroacoustic surveys were conducted before, during and between replicated water gun firing periods. Water guns did not affect abundance of bigheaded carp, but abundance of native fish detected during the firing treatment was 43 and 34% lower than the control and water guns off treatments, respectively. The proximity of bigheaded carp to the water gun array was similar between the water guns on and water guns off treatments. In contrast, the closest detected native fish were detected farther from the water guns during the water guns on treatment (mean ± SE, 32.38 ± 3.32 m) than during the water guns off treatment (15.04 ± 1.59 m). The water gun array had a greater impact on native fish species than on bigheaded carp. Caution should be taken to the extrapolation of these results to other fish species and to fish exposed to water guns in different environments (e.g., reduced shoreline interaction) or exposure to a larger array of water guns, or for use of water guns for purposes other than a barrier.