American Eel Anguilla rostrata abundance has declined in recent decades, in part because sexually maturing, silver-stage adults, outmigrating from freshwater to oceanic spawning grounds, encounter migratory blockades or perish when passing through active hydroelectric turbines. To help improve downstream passage effectiveness and increase survival rates, the role of silver-stage American Eel conspecific chemical cueing during outmigration was investigated using a new type of bioassay. Inside a laboratory flume, downstream-swimming eels were exposed to both live (putative attractant) and dead (putative repellent) conspecific washings to determine whether their trajectory of downstream movement, level of activity, or time spent inside targeted areas of the arena changed after exposure. Silver eels were not attracted to or repulsed by either odor, as none of five scoring metrics indicated a behavioral response. Results did not support the hypothesis that conspecific chemical cueing is a mechanism for downstream migration coordination or danger avoidance; however responses may not have been readily apparent in this type of assay. Fisheries managers may opt to focus future research on more feasible restoration efforts using alternate experimental designs to remedy this ecological issue.
Additional publication details
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||An evaluation of silver-stage American Eel conspecific chemical cueing during outmigration|
|Series title||Environmental Biology of Fishes|
|Contributing office(s)||Great Lakes Science Center|