Use of surrogacy remains a useful method for prioritizing research on representatives of at-risk groups of fishes, yet quantifiable evidence in support of its use is generally not available. Blade strike impact represents one of the most traumatic stressors experienced by fish during non-volitional movements through hydropower turbines. Here, we use data generated from laboratory trials on blade strike impact experiments to directly test use of surrogacy for salmonid and clupeid fishes. Results of logistic regression indicated that a -taxonomic (genus) variable was not a significant predictor of mortality among large rainbow trout and brook trout. Similar results were found for young-of-the-year shad species, but genus-level taxonomy was a significant predictor of mortality while species was not. Multivariate analysis of morphometric data showed that shad clustered together based on similarities in fish shape which was also closely associated with genus. Logistic regression including size as a major covariate suggested total fish length was not a significant predictor of mortality, yet dose–response data suggest differential susceptibility to lower strike velocities. We suggest that use of surrogacy among species is justifiable but should be avoided within a species since the effects of size remain unclear.
Author: Saylor R, et al. 2020.
Funding: U.S. Department of Energy Water Power Technologies Office