Acoustical deterrence of Silver Carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix)

Brooke J. Vetter, Aaron R. Cupp, Kim T. Fredricks, Mark P. Gaikowski, Allen Mensinger

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

82 Scopus citations


The invasive Silver Carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) dominate large regions of the Mississippi River drainage and continue to expand their range northward threatening the Laurentian Great Lakes. This study found that complex broadband sound (0–10 kHz) is effective in altering the behavior of Silver Carp with implications for deterrent barriers or potential control measures (e.g., herding fish into nets). The phonotaxic response of Silver Carp was investigated using controlled experiments in outdoor concrete ponds (10 × 4.9 × 1.2 m). Pure tones (500–2000 Hz) and complex sound (underwater field recordings of outboard motors) were broadcast using underwater speakers. Silver Carp always reacted to the complex sounds by exhibiting negative phonotaxis to the sound source and by alternating speaker location, Silver Carp could be directed consistently, up to 37 consecutive times, to opposite ends of the large outdoor pond. However, fish habituated quickly to pure tones, reacting to only approximately 5 % of these presentations and never showed more than two consecutive responses. Previous studies have demonstrated the success of sound barriers in preventing Silver Carp movement using pure tones and this research suggests that a complex sound stimulus would be an even more effective deterrent.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Pages (from-to)3383-3392
Number of pages10
JournalBiological Invasions
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

Bibliographical note

Funding Information:
We would like to thank the USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center (UMESC) staff and interns, especially Justin Smerud, Riley Buley, and Allison Zwarycz for their assistance with this project. The Illinois River Biological Station staff, including Andrew Casper, Levi Solomon, and Thad Cook, provided additional support. All fish handling, care, and experimental procedures used were reviewed and approved by the UMESC Institutional Animal Care and Use Committee (IACUC Protocol AEH-12-PPT-AC-01). Resources for the USGS component of the research were provided through the USGS Ecosystem Mission Area Invasive Species Program and from the US Environmental Protection Agency’s Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. The University of Minnesota Duluth Small Seed Research Grant provided additional funding.

Publisher Copyright:
© 2015, Springer International Publishing Switzerland.


  • Acoustics
  • Behavior
  • Deterrent barriers
  • Management
  • Phonotaxis
  • Silver Carp


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