WATER RESOURCES RESEARCH GRANT PROPOSAL
Project ID: MT241
Title: Determination of the maximum weight radio transmitter that can be implanted in westslope cutthroat trout without affecting swimming performance: A challenge to the "2% rule"
Focus Categories: Ecology, Methods
Keywords: stamina, westslope cutthroat trout, radio telemetry
Start Date: 03/01/2001
End Date: 02/28/2002
Federal Funds: $3,343
Non-Federal Matching Funds: $15,000
Congressional District: at-large
Alexander V. Zale
Associate Professor, Montana State University
The objective of the study is to determine the maximum weight radio transmitter that can be implanted in 100-g westslope cutthroat trout that will not significantly decrease their swimming performance. Experiments will be conducted in a stamina tunnel built expressly for this study at the Wild Trout Research Laboratory on the Montana State University campus in Bozeman. The fish will be divided into 7 groups of 15 individuals. These groups will include a control group (no surgery, no transmitter), a group on which surgery will be performed but no transmitter will be implanted, and 5 groups surgically implanted (into the peritoneal cavity) with transmitters weighing 1, 2, 3, 4, or 5 g. These groups will correspond to transmitter/body weight ratios of 0 to 5%. After surgery, fish will be allowed to recover for 10 days prior to performance testing. Using a standardized water velocity (e.g., 45 cm/s), swimming performance of each individual will be determined separately as time-to-exhaustion. These endurance durations will be compared statistically to determine the transmitter/body weight ratio at which swimming performance is significantly decreased. Subsequently, we will be able to implant wild fish in with transmitters below this threshold ratio to insure that their behavior and performance in the wild is not artificially altered.