Principles of aquatic anesthesia, surgery and telemetry employed in a field study on the bowfin (Amia calva)

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Bowfin (Amia calva) are the last living members of Amiiformes and considered a living fossil. This robust predator’s habitat is expanding in Oneida Lake, New York concurrently with increasing summer water temperatures and water clarity following the introduction of zebra mussels. Greater water clarity has led to more luxuriant growth of littoral aquatic vegetation, providing a more favorable habitat for bowfin. Given Oneida Lake is near the northern extent of the species’ range, understanding the influence of ecological changes on population dynamics could aid in predictions of similar shifts taking place on a larger geographic scale. While the bowfin has not been highly regarded as a sport fish, there is an increasing group of dedicated anglers and additional interest by some in producing bowfin caviar in southern territories. Little is known about the ecology, behavior or population biology of bowfin. The focus of the ongoing study described here is to gain a better understanding of the behavioral, population and reproductive dynamics of the bowfin in Oneida Lake by employing radio telemetry. Preliminary results reveal that bowfin tolerate well the surgical procedures described necessary to implant radio tags. The overall surgical survival rate was at least 94% if discounting transmitter loss or malfunction and 83% of the fish continued to actively transmit thus far in the study. The success of field surgery was most associated with minimizing latency of the procedure. Sterility should be maintained as best possible with the unique tissue characteristics of fish in mind. In addition to this paradigm study, a comprehensive review of aquatic anesthesia, surgery and telemetry is provided. These techniques may be used in the varied facets of the developing field of fish medicine, encompassing lab animal, exotic animal, zoo, wildlife and production medicine and thus will be an important skill set for a practicing veterinarian in these respective fields.

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Senior seminar paper
Seminar SF610.1 2010 T737

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Fishes -- Reproduction; Fishes -- Surgery


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Permission to release paper requested by author, November 19, 2011

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term paper

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