Evaluation of dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2) as a non-physical deterrent to invasive Red Swamp Crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) and Rusty Crayfish (Faxonius rusticus)

Science Center Objects

Red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) and Rusty crayfish (Faxonius rusticus) are invasive crayfish species in nearly all Great Lakes states (https://nas.er.usgs.gov/viewer/omap.aspx?SpeciesID=217). Both species are a concern in Michigan because they can displace native crayfish populations, their feeding behavior reduces habitat for amphibians, juvenile fish, invertebrates, and waterfowl. They can reduce game fish populations by consuming eggs and competing with fish for food. Burrowing behavior of red swamp crayfish can increase turbidity and can result in cyanobacteria blooms. If burrowing is extensive, stream bank collapse can occur.

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center (UMESC) has evaluated multiple non-physical barriers to alter behavior in fish species (a review of potential non-physical barriers to fish was completed by Noatch and Suski 2012). Recent research using dissolved carbon dioxide (CO2) has shown that CO2 is effective at deterring the movement of silver (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) and bighead carp (H. nobilis) in the lab (Kates et al. 2012), static pond (Donaldson et al. 2016), and flowing pond (Cupp et al. 2017a). Recent manuscripts document that carbon dioxide alters behavior of several fish species (e.g. Donaldson et al. 2016, Dennis et al. 2016, Cupp et al. 2017b).

Because of the success of using CO2 to modify fish behavior (Donaldson et al. 2016, Dennis et al. 2016, Cupp et al. 2017b) we propose to test its effects on modifying behavior of two invasive crayfish species: red swamp crayfish and rusty crayfish. We are proposing to evaluate crayfish behavior to evaluate its assistance with enhancing physical removal. No literature describing effects of CO2 on mobile freshwater invertebrates was found.

This protocol outlines two sets of behavioral laboratory experiments evaluating the efficacy of CO2 to alter crayfish behavior. First, a range finding study will be used to determine the minimum effective CO2 concentration that induces crayfish avoidance. A second study will determine the CO2 concentration required to narcotize crayfish. These studies will use behavioral metrics (e.g. spatial occupancy, and CO2 avoidance) to quantify efficacy. Concentrations of CO2 identified by these laboratory studies should provide a range of CO2 concentrations can be tested in outdoor ponds to verify efficacy before use in management application.

Red Swamp Crayfish used in CO2 deterrent study.

Red Swamp Crayfish used in CO2 deterrent study.

(Credit: Justin Smerud, Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center. Public domain.)



(1) Determine minimum CO2 concentration that induces movement of red swamp and rusty crayfish

(2) Determine the CO2 concentration required to narcotize red swamp and rusty crayfish.



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