Using gastric and surgical transmitter implantation, we compared radio-tagged juvenile chinook salmon Oncorhynchus tshawytscha (T(O)) with tagged fish also having a gill biopsy (T(B)) to determine biopsy effects on fish implanted with radio transmitters. We found no evidence during the 21-d period to suggest that a gill biopsy reduced survival, growth, or gross condition of the tagged-biopsy group, regardless of transmitter implantation technique. We recorded 100% survival of all treatment groups. Relative growth rates of T(O) and T(B) fish did not differ significantly. Leukocrit and lysozyme levels were not significantly different among groups, suggesting that no signs of infection were present. Our findings suggest that small chinook salmon can tolerate the combination of transmitter implantation and gill biopsy without compromising condition relative to fish receiving only the transmitter. We believe a gill biopsy can be used in field telemetry studies, especially when physiological data are needed in addition to behavioral data.
Additional publication details
Nonlethal gill biopsy does not affect juvenile chinook salmon implanted with radio transmitters