In the coming years biotelemetry techniques will be used in a large number of projects supported by the GLFC intended to study the spatial ecology and survival of a variety of fish species in the Great Lakes. The majority of telemetry studies will be long- term and will therefore require the surgical implantation of tags. As such, the premise of this proposal is that there is an immediate and pressing need to develop a suite of best surgical practices for use in the surgical tagging of key Great Lakes fish. In particular, there is a need for protocols that have been designed to be relevant to field settings (e.g., on a boat, dock, or shoreline) where most tagging would occur (rather than in the lab). By developing standardized techniques it will be possible to ensure that data collected in different studies and across different years will be comparable. Beyond the benefits afforded by being able to conduct comparative analyses, any attempts to refine tagging techniques will also improve the quality of the data being collected as a tenet of all tagging studies is that the presence of the tag or the tagging procedure do not significantly alter the behaviour, survival, physiology, growth, health or fitness of tagged fish relative to untagged conspecifics. Management decisions based on unreliable mortality estimates or habitat associations could lead to costly mistakes. Our overall objective is to provide standardized resources to telemetry practitioners that will lead to improved surgical outcomes for fish implanted with electronic tags. To achieve the objective we propose to do the following: 1. review the scientific literature related to fish surgery relevant to key species in the Great Lakes; 2. survey researchers with experience conducting fish surgeries on a given species to identify problems and opportunities; 3. identify research needs or other uncertainties for each species; 4. synthesize available information to propose standardized surgical techniques for each species recognizing that there may still be significant uncertainties that we identify; 5. generate a final report and several short videos that serve as a resource for those embarking on studies that require the surgical implantation of electronic tags in fish.
DEVELOPMENT OF STANDARDIZED SURGICAL PROCEDURES FOR THE IMPLANTATION OF ELECTRONIC TAGS IN KEY GREAT LAKES TELEOST FISHES
Scope of Study
Literature / Existing Data
Scale of Phenomena
Surveillance and Monitoring