Date of Award


Publication Type

Master Thesis

Degree Name



Biological Sciences


Behavioural control, Behavioural threshold, Invasive species, Low frequency sound, Natural deterrent, Sound detection


Dennis Higgs




Sea lamprey are invasive in the Laurentian Great Lakes and parasitically feed on valued fishes. Migration barriers and selective pesticides are used to control sea lamprey, but there is a desire to develop additional control tools such as traps with deterrents. Sound has been used as a deterrent for other invasive species but its potential for manipulating sea lamprey behavior in natural stream conditions remains untested. The behavioural threshold for sea lamprey nor a behavioural comparison of life stages has also not been established. Here, behavioral responses of upstream migrating adult sea lamprey in response to low frequency sounds of 70 or 90 Hz was tracked in a small stream using passive integrated transponder (PIT) telemetry. The low frequency sounds shifted sea lamprey distribution with up to 30% more sea lamprey detected on PIT antennas without sound compared to PIT antennas with sound playing. The same frequency tones were used for behavioral responses of adult and juvenile sea lamprey and were tracked in a lab setup. The low frequency sounds changed the sea lampreys behaviour with juvenile and adult sea lamprey showing similar swimming behavioural thresholds and twitch (startle) behavioural thresholds for both frequencies. Future studies could continue testing low frequency sounds in natural setting for use as a natural deterrent at sea lamprey barriers to push sea lamprey toward traps at different life stages and continued studies in a lab setting could be useful for knowledge of the behaviour of sea lamprey to apply to traps for population control.