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Invasive sea lamprey detection and characterization using interdigitated electrode (IDE) contact sensor

December 21, 2021

The ability to monitor invasive sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus) populations in the Laurentian Great Lakes is critical to protecting the region’s $ 7 billion USD fishing industry and preserving its biodiversity. Monitoring these invaders requires considerable fieldwork and human power, making remote lamprey detection systems attractive for their continuous monitoring capabilities and potential for workload reduction. However, a lack of available methods for detecting sea lamprey hampers development of such systems. Here we present a sensor composed of two exposed planar interdigitated electrodes (IDE) along with a DC measurement system for the detection of lamprey attachment underwater. Measuring voltage instead of impedance, reduces cost and signal processing complexity, making the device more attractive for field deployment. The system is calibrated to a baseline output voltage and deviations from this baseline occur when objects touch the IDE. Validation was done through testing on live adult sea lampreys using video recordings to correlate lamprey attachments to the sensor response. Three response types were identified corresponding to different attachments: sustained, short and sliding-sustained. Sensor response to sustained and sliding-sustained attachments showed a characteristic exponential decay whereas the response due to short attachments was indistinguishable from measurement noise. Lamprey size was found to have a weak linear correlation with both response parameters, positive for the voltage drop and negative for the time constant of voltage drop. A representative circuit for the lamprey-sensor interaction is proposed and simulated using element values calculated from the response parameters. The response of the model shows agreement with experimental data.

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