Research Summary: Pop Up Satellite Tags Impair Swimming Performance and Energetics of the European Eel (Anguilla anguilla)
Pop-up satellite archival tags (PSATs) have recently been applied in attempts to follow the oceanic spawning migration of the European eel. PSATs are quite large, and in all likelihood their hydraulic drag constitutes an additional cost during swimming, which remains to be quantified, as does the potential implication for successful migration. Silver eels (LT = 598.6±29 mm SD, N = 9) were subjected to swimming trials in a Steffensen-type swim tunnel at increasing speeds of 0.3–0.9 body lengths s−1, first without and subsequently with, a scaled down PSAT dummy attached. The tag significantly increased oxygen consumption (MO2) during swimming and elevated minimum cost of transport (COTmin) by 26%. Standard (SMR) and active metabolic rate (AMR) as well as metabolic scope remained unaffected, suggesting that the observed effects were caused by increased drag. Optimal swimming speed (Uopt) was unchanged, whereas critical swimming speed (Ucrit) decreased significantly. Swimming with a PSAT altered swimming kinematics as verified by significant changes to tail beat frequency (f), body wave speed (v) and Strouhal number (St). The results demonstrate that energy expenditure, swimming performance and efficiency all are significantly affected in migrating eels with external tags.
Publisher: Public Library of Science
Date Published: 8-June-2011
Author(s): Methling C., Tudorache C., Skov P., Steffensen J.