Validating variation in radio-signal strength as an index of aquatic fauna activity

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D. Thiem, Jason
Ebner, Brendan
C. Clear, Rhian
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2010
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Abstract

Studying biological rhythms of activity and determining the external factors that influence behaviour of animals can be challenging in many aquatic habitats. We investigated the validity of using variations in radio-signal strength to quantify changes in activity of radio-tagged aquatic fauna on a small spatial scale under controlled conditions in the field. We monitored short-term activity (<1 min) of two aquatic species, rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and Murray River crayfish (Euastacus armatus), that differ markedly in their primary mode of movement. Simultaneous video monitoring confirmed that active and inactive periods for both species could be accurately determined by radio-telemetry, as were specific behaviours exhibited by trout. We were also able to quantify activity based on different radio-tag (coil and trailing whip antennas) and receiving antenna configurations (yagi and gap-loop antennas); however, we recommend use of control tags to provide reference data. Variation in radio-signal strength represents a valid means of monitoring activity of moderately site-attached aquatic species.

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Australian Journal of Zoology

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58

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1

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Zoology not elsewhere classified

Environmental Sciences

Biological Sciences

Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences

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