Expanding freshwater biologger studies to view fish as environmental sensing platforms

Marine and Freshwater Research
By: , and 

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Abstract

While recording fish habitat use by electronic sensors, biologgers can also be viewed as autonomous environmental monitoring systems with the organism as a vehicle. This dual perspective has provided novel results from marine ecosystems, but has not been applied to freshwater ecosystems. To understand limitations in fresh water, we evaluated miniature depth and temperature recorders as aquatic monitoring systems in a Laurentian Great Lake: Erie. As part of an acoustic telemetry study, biologgers were opportunistically implanted in a subsample of walleye Sander vitreus. Biologgers recorded temperature and depth at half-hour intervals for up to 1 year. Recaptures provided six biologgers for analysis of seasonal temperature patterns and lake stratification, key variables for understanding dimictic lakes. Depth-resolved temperature patterns showed close correspondence with independent weather buoy measurements. Because the buoy was deployed late in the season, biologger data provided improved estimates of the start of stratification, which had important implications for understanding development of hypoxia in the hypolimnion. Drawbacks to biologger data included imprecise knowledge of fish location and reliance on tag recoveries from the fishery. Optimistically, our results show how biologgers could be part of a monitoring approach that integrates limnological surveys with fisheries science.

Publication type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Title Expanding freshwater biologger studies to view fish as environmental sensing platforms
Series title Marine and Freshwater Research
DOI 10.1071/MF21046
Edition Online First
Year Published 2021
Language English
Publisher CSIRO
Contributing office(s) Great Lakes Science Center
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