Freshwater and coastal migration patterns in the silver-stage eel Anguilla anguilla

Barry, J., Newton, M., Dodd, J.A., Lucas, M.C., Boylan, P. and Adams, C.E. (2016) Freshwater and coastal migration patterns in the silver-stage eel Anguilla anguilla. Journal of Fish Biology, 88(2), pp. 676-689. (doi: 10.1111/jfb.12865) (PMID:26707686)

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The unimpeded downstream movement patterns and migration success of small female and male Anguilla anguilla through a catchment in north-west Europe were studied using an acoustic hydrophone array along the River Finn and into the Foyle Estuary in Ireland. Twenty silver-stage A. anguilla (total length, LT, range: 332–520 mm) were trapped 152 km upstream from a coastal marine sea-lough outlet and internally tagged with acoustic transmitters of which 19 initiated downstream migration. Migration speed was highly influenced by river flow within the freshwater (FW) compartment. Anguilla anguilla activity patterns were correlated with environmental influences; light, tidal direction and lunar phase all influenced the initiation of migration of tagged individuals. Migration speed varied significantly between upstream and lower river compartments. Individuals migrated at a slower speed in transitional water and sea-lough compartments compared with the FW compartment. While 88·5% survival was recorded during migration through the upper 121 km of the river and estuary, only 26% of A. anguilla which initiated downstream migration were detected at the outermost end of the acoustic array. Telemetry equipment functioned efficiently, including in the sea-lough, so this suggests high levels of mortality during sea-lough migration, or less likely, long-term sea-lough residence by silver A. anguilla emigrants. This has important implications for eel management plans.

Item Type:Articles
Additional Information:This work was supported by funding from the European Union’s INTERREG IVA Programme(project 2859 ‘IBIS’) managed by the Special EU programmes Body.
Glasgow Author(s) Enlighten ID:Dodd, Dr Jennifer and Barry, Professor J and Adams, Professor Colin and Newton, Dr Matthew and Boylan, Dr Patrick
Authors: Barry, J., Newton, M., Dodd, J.A., Lucas, M.C., Boylan, P., and Adams, C.E.
College/School:College of Medical Veterinary and Life Sciences > School of Biodiversity, One Health & Veterinary Medicine
Journal Name:Journal of Fish Biology
ISSN (Online):1095-8649
Published Online:28 December 2015

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