CASE at UNT: Like a treadmill for fish

Wed, Sept 16 2020

One of the products we offer is a swim tunnel for aquatic animals. It is “like a treadmill for fish”, we usually answer, when asked what a swim tunnel is for. But what is a swim tunnel actually used for?

A good example is found in a recent press release featuring UNT professor, Ed Mager. The press release describes why Ed and his team’s research on four species of Guadalupe River fish is important. Ed explains that:

Once we understand the swimming performance of the river’s occupants, we can make recommendations of maximum water flow rates that can be incorporated into the planning of waterway crossings.

In other words, the research team use one of our swim tunnels to examine the maximum sustained velocity and burst speed of the Guadalupe Bass (the state fish of Texas), Guadalupe Roundnose Minnow, Guadalupe Darter and Plateau Shiner that all inhabit the river at various life stages. The Loligo swim tunnel (see picture above) enables the team to swim the fish at different water velocities in a fully controlled environment while they are able to automatically measure their oxygen consumption rate, at the same time. The setup further allows accurate control of temperature, and the option to film the swimming fish from different angles, if needed.

Overall, you may find a swim tunnel used in physiology studies and in research on energetics, behavior, biomechanics and kinematics – not only in fish, but essentially in any aquatic animals that meet the physical requirements of the swim tunnel.

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