Experimental Lakes Area Project Lets Fish Take The Measurements

By on August 21, 2015

Researchers at the Experimental Lakes Area in Canada are using a new way to track dissolved oxygen levels and their effects on fish, according to a research highlight from the International Institute of Sustainable Development that oversees the area. The new method relies on an advanced fish tag that can measure parameter others can’t.

Developed by scientists at McGill University, University of Manitoba and Vemco, a manufacturer of acoustic telemetry devices, the new tag incorporates several capabilities. For one, it tracks water temperatures. But it can also measure depth and dissolved oxygen levels, all while being small enough to fit in one hand.

“All three sensors take measurements within a span of 250 milliseconds, allowing the percent saturation of dissolved oxygen in the water to be calculated, a commonly used indicator of aquatic ecosystem health,” reads the research highlight.

Managers at the ELA say the tags are being used in a study in Lake 658 there. They have been attached to lake whitefish and take measurements around every 10 minutes. The data they collect are picked up by acoustic receivers around the lake and are being used in efforts to assess the habitat preferences of lake whitefish, an important sport fish in the United States and Canada.

A new fish tag can help researchers learn more about temperature, depth and dissolved oxygen levels around the fish they’re studying. (Credit: International Institute of Sustainable Development)

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