Biological Invasions

, Volume 20, Issue 11, pp 3095–3105 | Cite as

Temperature dependent effects of carbon dioxide on avoidance behaviors in bigheaded carps

  • John A. TixEmail author
  • Aaron R. Cupp
  • Justin R. Smerud
  • Richard A. Erickson
  • Kim T. Fredricks
  • Jon J. Amberg
  • Cory D. Suski
Original Paper


Effective behavioral deterrents are needed to prevent aquatic invasive species from entering novel ecosystems. One deterrent strategy that shows promise is elevated carbon dioxide (CO2) concentrations in water which can alter the behavior of freshwater fishes, including invasive bigheaded carps (Hypophthalmichthys spp.). However, few studies have evaluated behavioral responses to elevated CO2 concentrations at different water temperatures. The objective of this study was to quantify CO2 concentrations needed to achieve avoidance (voluntary response) and narcosis (involuntary response observed by loss of equilibrium) behaviors in silver carp (H. molitrix) and bighead carp (H. nobilis) at 5, 15, and 25 °C. Overall, silver carp and bighead carp displayed avoidance and narcosis behaviors to CO2 at each water temperature, however bighead carp responded at higher CO2 concentrations than silver carp. Behavioral avoidance and narcosis were observed at approximately 40% lower CO2 concentrations in 5 °C water relative to 25 °C suggesting considerable influence of water temperature on a CO2 stimulus for both species. Results indicate that fluctuating water temperature (e.g., spatial and temporal variation across management sites) can influence how fish respond to elevated CO2, and may usefully be considered when applying CO2 as a behavioral deterrent.


Bigheaded carps Carbon dioxide Deterrent Behavior Temperature Invasive 



Financial resources for this study were provided by the U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Ecosystems Mission Area Invasive Species Program and the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative. All procedures performed in this study involving animals were in accordance with the ethical standards of the USGS (protocol # AEH–16–CO2–02). We thank Dr. Caleb Hasler for guidance with shuttle-box setup. Any use of trade, firm, or product name is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

Supplementary material

10530_2018_1761_MOESM1_ESM.docx (23 kb)
Supplementary material 1 (DOCX 22 kb)


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Copyright information

© This is a U.S. government work and its text is not subject to copyright protection in the United States; however, its text may be subject to foreign copyright protection 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  • John A. Tix
    • 1
    Email author
  • Aaron R. Cupp
    • 1
  • Justin R. Smerud
    • 1
  • Richard A. Erickson
    • 1
  • Kim T. Fredricks
    • 1
  • Jon J. Amberg
    • 1
  • Cory D. Suski
    • 2
  1. 1.U.S. Geological Survey, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences CenterLa CrosseUSA
  2. 2.Department of Natural Resources and Environmental SciencesUniversity of Illinois Urbana-ChampaignUrbanaUSA

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