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Fish responses to flow velocity and turbulence in relation to size, sex and parasite load

Hockley, Frances Anne, Wilson, Catherine ORCID:, Brew, A. and Cable, Joanne ORCID: 2014. Fish responses to flow velocity and turbulence in relation to size, sex and parasite load. Journal of the Royal Society Interface 11 (91) , 20130814. 10.1098/rsif.2013.0814

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Riverine fish are subjected to heterogeneous flow velocities and turbulence and may use this to their advantage by selecting regions that balance energy expenditure for station holding while maximizing energy gain through feeding opportunities. This study investigated microhabitat selection by guppies Poecilia reticulata in terms of flow characteristics generated by hemisphere boulders in an open channel flume. Velocity and turbulence influenced the variation in swimming behaviour with respect to size, sex and parasite intensity. With increasing body length, fish swam further and more frequently between boulder regions. Larger guppies spent more time in the areas of high-velocity and low-turbulence regions beside the boulders, whereas smaller guppies frequented the low-velocity and high-turbulence regions directly behind the boulders. Male guppies selected the regions of low velocity, indicating possible reduced swimming ability owing to hydrodynamic drag imposed by their fins. With increasing Gyrodactylus turnbulli burden, fish spent more time in regions with moderate velocity and lowest turbulent kinetic energy which were the most spatially and temporally homogeneous in terms of velocity and turbulence. These findings highlight the importance of heterogeneous flow conditions in river channel design owing to the behavioural variability within a species in response to velocity and turbulence.

Item Type: Article
Date Type: Publication
Status: Published
Schools: Biosciences
Subjects: Q Science > QL Zoology
Publisher: The Royal Society
ISSN: 1742-5689
Funders: BBSRC
Date of First Compliant Deposit: 30 March 2016
Date of Acceptance: 4 November 2013
Last Modified: 05 May 2023 13:04

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