Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research

First Advisor

Aaron Fisk


acoustic transmitter, juvenile, lake trout, respirometry, swimming performance, tag effects




The objectives of this study were to investigate acoustic tag burden in two juvenile salmonid species; rainbow trout (Oncorhynchus mykiss) and lake trout (Salvelinus namaycush), explore the relationship between metabolic rate and swimming performance in tagged and untagged individuals, and investigate effects of surgery and tag implantation on survival and growth. Laboratory experiments measured tag burden effects in fish sizes (e.g., 9-39 g and 105-159 mm (fork length; LF)) typically stocked by Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and Forestry (OMNRF) and other natural resource management agencies. The analysis revealed no significant effects of acoustic tagging on survival, growth, oxygen consumption (ṀO2) (proxy for metabolic rate), and swimming performance (Ucrit). Rainbow trout ṀO2 (mass-specific rate of oxygen consumption) increased with time since surgery, and acoustic-tagged rainbow trout had elevated ṀO2 compared to control fish, but the effect was not significant (p = 0.024). The acoustic-tagged lake trout ṀO2 were not significantly different from the controls or the other treatments (i.e., PIT, sham, and acoustic-tagged) (p = 0.011). Rainbow trout (i.e., acoustic-tagged and control fish) had a significantly higher Ucrit than lake trout (p < 0.001). Differences in swimming performance between the species was most likely influenced by water temperature and body size. For both species Ucrit was lower in acoustic-tagged fish but the difference was not statistically significant (p = 0.024). Rainbow trout were housed at ~ 14 °C and lake trout at ~ 11 °C. This study indicates that specific growth rate, oxygen consumption (via respirometry), and swimming performance (Ucrit) can be used as novel metrics to assess impacts of acoustic tag burden. The results from this acoustic tagging study suggest tag burden up to 6% does not have a significant effect on survival, growth, resting ṀO2, and swimming performance (Ucrit) in juvenile rainbow trout and lake trout.