In the first phase of this project, we're hoping to learn about how fish use the Sun River between Gibson and Diversion dams. The best way to do this is to study some individual fish over a long period of time-to regularly follow them through different seasons to see how they respond to changing conditions in the river. But, how are we going to do this?
The best tool biologists have for monitoring movements of individual fish is called "telemetry", which is just a fancy word for attaching a transmitter to a critter and monitoring its travels. On larger animals, these transmitters can actually be carried somewhere on their body. For instance, elk and bears typically carry transmitters in special collars around their necks. On larger fish, like paddlefish and sturgeon, transmitters are often attached to the fins on top of their backs. However, it is difficult to attach transmitters to smaller fish without affecting their natural behavior. Thus, the best place for smaller fish to carry transmitters is actually inside their bodies! How did we go about doing this?