Assessment of newly developed acoustic stimuli for manipulating movement of bigheaded carps

Science Center Objects

Bigheaded carps, like other cyprinids, have specialized structures known as Weberian ossicles that increase their hearing range and sensitivity. Recent results from controlled laboratory studies have indicated that playback of a recording of an outboard boat motor was effective at altering silver and bighead carp behavior. 

Preliminary barrier studies indicate sound may also be an effective, species specific, and low cost deterrent strategy. Prior research at the Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center (UMESC) demonstrated that bigheaded carps behavior could be altered in small test tanks and medium sized concrete ponds. A single sound deterrent’s effectiveness would diminish over time from repeated exposures, therefore the use of multiple acoustic stimuli could reduce the likelihood of habituation. Currently, rapid development and assessment of a variety of acoustic stimuli is being conducted at the US Army Corps of Engineers Research and Development Center (ERDC) in Vicksburg, MS. Stimuli which elicit a negative phonotaxis in bigheaded carps during these trials need to be assessed in a larger-scale study. Our goal is to characterize the behavioral response of bigheaded carps to multiple underwater acoustic stimuli in order to identify additional sounds that effectively deter bigheaded carp.


1. Characterize both the short-term and long-term behavioral responses of bigheaded carps to newly developed underwater acoustic stimuli.

2. Describe and map the acoustic propagation of newly developed underwater sound stimuli in earthen ponds.