Barriers to migration: the impacts of barotrauma on the physiology of a commercially important species (Prochilodus lineatus)

Helen Ann Laura Currie, Nicholas Flores Martin, Gerardo Espindola Garcia, Paul S. Kemp, Andrey Castro, Luiz G. M. Silva

Research output: Contribution to conferenceAbstract


Migratory fish face a number of threats worldwide, including barriers to their migration. Downstream passage of fish through barriers commonly occurs via spillways or turbines, causing rapid decompression and barotrauma.

Curimbata (Prochilodus lineatus), a species of economic significance in Brazil has been severely affected by construction of hydropower dams throughout its range. Turbine passage trials carried out in a barotrauma chamber using two pressure profiles (150 & 200 kPa) compared with a control group, indicate a significant difference between treatments, with injuries including swimbladder rupture, haemorrhaging and emboli. Over 98% of individuals exposed to 200 kPa presented at least one type of assessed injury, compared with 66.7% exposed to 150 kPa and 20% for the control group (unexposed). An overall difference was observed using chi-squared contingency table analyses (χ2=69.02; d.f.=2; p<0.01).

Rapid decompression events may lead to swimbladder rupture, thus, a preliminary investigation on the tensile strength of the swimbladder of P. lineatus was conducted using a custom-built tensile machine. Gender differences were found in this species; males demonstrating greater peak strength values (log-transformed one-way ANOVA; p<0.05) possibly due to reproductive singing behaviour. Absent ASTM standards, a suitable shape (a 1:5 rectangular sample) for biological material was determined through trials.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 23 Aug 2017
Event147th Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society -
Duration: 23 Aug 2023 → …


Conference147th Annual Meeting of the American Fisheries Society
Period23/08/23 → …
Internet address

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