European eel, Anguilla anguilla

On Tuesday 18 June, Niclas Carlsson, lab/field technician and master student at Karlstad University, will give a seminar titled: “Low-sloping racks and the importance of bar spacing for eel passage”. The seminar starts at 13:15 in room 5F416 at Karlstad University. Everyone who wants to are welcome to attend the seminar.

 

 

 

European eel, Anguilla anguilla. Photo: Jörgen Wiklund

Karlstad University has an opening for a PhD position in aquatic conservation biology. The project will focus on “Resolving production bottlenecks for the European eel”. Conserving biodiversity is one of the major challenges in applied aquatic ecology. The European eel functions as a flagship species in marine and freshwater conservation, and its population collapse is of major concern for ecologists, fishers and managers.

The aim of the PhD project is to identify:

(i) relationships between yellow eel habitat use, growth, behavior and survival.

(ii) effects of habitat characteristics and the surrounding landscape on eel large-scale movements within freshwater systems.

(iii) functioning downstream passage solutions at hydropower plants for a wide range of silver eel phenotypes.

The position is full-time for four years. Doctoral students may also be assigned departmental duties, such as teaching, which will extend the period of employment accordingly.

Read more and apply for the position here.

Last day to apply is 5 June 2019.

Two papers in Animal Conservation

Posted by Karl Filipsson | Papers

Two papers from NRRV were recently published in the journal Animal Conservation. The first paper presents a field study on how sedimentation affects brown trout (Salmo trutta) fry emergence in relation to freshwater pearl mussel (Margaritifera margaritifera) recruitment. The second paper presents a combined field and laboratory study on passage solutions for upstream-migrating eels (Anguilla anguilla).

 

Sedimentation affects emergence rate of host fish fry in unionoid mussel streams

Martin Österling

 

In the abstract, the author writes:

Freshwater pearl mussel, Margaritifera margaritifera

“Free-living, sympatric sedentary life stages of hosts and parasites are often adapted to similar environmental conditions. When the environment where these life stages occur is disturbed, both species can decline, causing strong negative effects on the parasitic species. For the highly threatened unionoid mussels with their larval parasitic life stage on fish, habitat degradation may simultaneously affect the conditions for the sedentary host fish eggs and the juvenile mussels in the sediment. This study provides novel information on the effect of sedimentation on the emergence rate of yolk sac fry, and its relation to mussel recruitment in two drainage basins, and is exemplified by the brown trout Salmo trutta, host fish for the threatened freshwater pearl mussel Margaritifera margaritifera. The results imply that turbidity and sedimentation can reduce the survival of trout eggs and yolk sac fry emergence rate regardless of trout strain and drainage basin. The results further suggest that low yolk sac fry emergence rates reduce the potential for mussel infestation and recruitment. The results indicate a year round negative effect of sedimentation, having strong and combined direct and indirect effects on juvenile mussel recruitment. Conservation measures that reduce anthropogenic sediment transportation into streams are a key factor for the conservation of mussels and their host fish.”

Access the paper here, or contact the author.

 

Climbing the ladder: an evaluation of three different anguillid eel climbing substrata and placement of upstream passage solutions at migration barriers

Johan Watz, Anders Nilsson, Erik Degerman, Carl Tamario and Olle Calles

 

European eel, Anguilla anguilla. Photo: Jörgen Wiklund

In the abstract, the authors write:

“Conservation programmes for endangered, long-lived and migratory species often have to target multiple life stages. The bottlenecks associated with the survival of juvenile anguillid eels migrating into inland waters, the survival and growth of the freshwater life stage, as well as the recruitment and survival of silver eels, migrating back to the ocean to spawn, must be resolved. In this study, we focus on the efficiency of passage solutions for upstream-migrating juveniles. Such solutions can consist of inclined ramps lined with wetted climbing substrata. We evaluated different commonly used substrata in a controlled experiment, recorded eel behaviour at the entrance of the ramp with infrared videography and validated the experimental results at a hydropower dam, where we also investigated the effects of ramp placement on performance. In the experiment on eel substratum selection, 40% of the eels passed in lanes with studded substratum, whereas only 21 and 5% passed using open weave and bristle substrata respectively. Video analysis revealed that the studded substratum attracted more approaches and initiated climbs than the other substrata, but once a climb had been initiated, passage success rates did not differ between substrata. Eels using the studded substratum climbed 26% faster than those using the bristle substratum and almost four times as fast as those climbing in the open weave. The superior performance of the studded substratum was supported by data from the field validation. Moreover, ramps positioned by the bank with low water velocities caught the most eels, but proximity to the dam had no effect on performance. To strengthen the European eel population, more juveniles need to reach their freshwater feeding grounds. A critical step to achieve this increase is to equip upstream passage solutions with suitable substrata and to optimize ramp placement at migration obstacles.”

Access the paper here, or contact any of the authors.

Europeisk ål, Anguilla anguilla. Foto: Jörgen Wiklund.

Under senhösten 2018 har forskare från NRRV undersökt två olika typer av låglutande galler (vinkel mot strömriktningen = 30°) och dess effekt på nedströmsvandrande ål (Anguilla anguilla). Studien har utförts i Vattenfalls nya strömränna ”Laxelleratorn” som genom sina mått (24 meter lång, 4 meter bred och 2 meter djup) är i paritet med en intagskanal till ett litet vattenkraftverk.

Bakgrunden tll studien är den stora minskningen av ålbeståndet som har skett sedan mitten av 1900-talet och som lett till att ålen numer är klassad som en akut hotad art (sedan 2005). En av orsakerna tros vara den höga mortaliteten för blankål vid nedströmspassage i anslutning till vattenkraftverk, där framförallt passage genom turbinerna ger låga överlevnadschanser.

 

Laxelleratorn i Älvkarleby.

För att hindra ålen att passera genom turbinerna eller andra passager med hög mortalitet kan, istället för ett konventionellt intagsgaller, ett låglutande galler (< 30° mot strömriktning) installeras. Dessa leder fisken mot en flyktöppning som leder till en säkrare passage, till exempel en fiskväg eller en fälla, och en återställning av vattendragets konnektivitet. Ett exempel där ett låglutande galler finns installerat är Hertingforsen i Ätran där goda resultat uppnåtts för flera arter (Calles m.fl.).

Totalt märktes 80 ålar (medellängd ± 1 standardavvikelse (SD) = 845 ± 74 mm) med PIT-tags och släpptes ut i strömrännan där de endera fick möta ett α-galler (avleder fisk från botten mot ytan) eller ett β-galler (avleder fisken från ena sidan till den andra). Dessutom testades för vardera galler två olika spaltvidder: 15 och 30 millimeter. De huvudsakliga parametrarna som undersöktes var avledningseffektivitet för respektive gallerkonfiguration och tiden den tog för ålen att passera.

Resultatet analyseras i nuläget men de preliminära resultaten tyder generellt på en god avledande förmåga. Rapporten planeras vara klar under våren 2019.

 

Se även:

Calles O, Christiansson J, Kläppe S, Alenäs I, Karlsson S, Nyqvist D, Hebrand M. (2015). Slutrapport Hertingprojektet – Förstudie och uppföljning av åtgärder för förbättrad fiskpassage 2007-2015. Naturresurs rinnande vatten, Karlstads universitet

 

Försöksuppställningen i laxelleratorn.

 

Marcell Szabo-Meszaros, Christy Ushanth Navaratnam, Jochen Aberle, Knut Alfredsen (Norwegian University of Science and Technology), Ana T. Silva, Torbjørn Forseth (Norwegian Institute for Nature Research), Olle Calles (Karlstad University) and Hans-Petter Fjeldstad (SINTEF Energy Research) recently published the scientific paper “Experimental hydraulics on fish-friendly trash-racks: an ecological approach” in the journal Ecological Engineering. The study is part of the project SafePass, where methods for safe and efficient migration for salmonids and European eel past hydropower structures are evaluated. SafePass aims to facilitate fish migration in regulated rivers, using perspectives of both the fish and the hydropower industry. Read more about SafePass here.

In the abstract of the paper, the authors write: ”The obstruction of fish migratory routes by hydroelectric facilities is worldwide one of the major threats to freshwater fishes. During downstream migration, fish may be injured or killed on the trash-racks or in the hydropower turbines. Fish-friendly trash-racks that combine both ecological and technical requirements are a solution to mitigate fish mortality at a low operational cost. This study presents results from an experimental investigation of head-losses and the hydrodynamic performance of six angled trash-rack types with 15 mm bar spacing, varying bar-setup (vertical-streamwise, vertical-angled and horizontal bars) and bar profiles (rectangular and drop shape) under steady flow conditions. The trash-racks were positioned at 30° to the wall of the flume and combined with a bypass at their downstream end. The impact of the different trash-rack types on the upstream flow field was characterized using Image based Volumetric 3-component Velocimetry (V3V) and at the bypass-entrance using an Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter (ADV). The results show that trash-racks with vertical streamwise and horizontal oriented bars with drop-shape profiles have similar head-losses (13% difference), while trash-racks with vertical-angled bars provide 3–8 times larger head-losses compared to the remaining configurations. The velocity measurements showed that the highest flow velocities occurred for configurations with vertical-angled bars (0.67ms−1 and 0.81ms−1 on average, respectively).Turbulence related parameters (e.g. Reynolds shear stresses and Turbulent kinetic energy) were also investigated to evaluate the performance of the alternative trash-racks from both, engineering and ecological perspectives.”

Access the paper here, or e-mail any of the authors.

The Volumetric 3-component Velocimetry (V3V) system used in the study.