A laboratory investigation of the suspension, transport, and settling of silver carp eggs using synthetic surrogates

Tatiana Garcia, Carlo Zuniga Zamalloa, P. Ryan Jackson, Elizabeth A. Murphy, Marcelo H. Garcia

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Asian carp eggs are semi-buoyant and must remain suspended in the water to survive, supported by the turbulence of the flow, until they hatch and develop the ability to swim. Analysis of the transport and dispersal patterns of Asian carp eggs will facilitate the development and implementation of control strategies to target the early life stages. Experimenting with Asian carp eggs is complicated due to practical issues of obtaining eggs in close proximity to experimental facilities and extensive handling of eggs tends to damage them. Herein, we describe laboratory experiments using styrene beads (4.85 mm diameter) as synthetic surrogate eggs to mimic the physical properties of water-hardened silver carp eggs. The first set of experiments was completed in a rectangular vertical column filled with salt water. The salinity of the water was adjusted in an iterative fashion to obtain a close approximation of the fall velocity of the styrene beads to the mean fall velocity of silver carp water-hardened eggs. The terminal fall velocity of synthetic eggs was measured using an image processing method. The second set of experiments was performed in a temperature-controlled recirculatory flume with a sediment bed. The flume was filled with salt water, and synthetic eggs were allowed to drift under different flow conditions. Drifting behavior, suspension conditions, and settling characteristics of synthetic eggs were observed. At high velocities, eggs were suspended and distributed through the water column. Eggs that touched the sediment bed were re-entrained by the flow. Eggs saltated when they touched the bed, especially at moderate velocities and with a relatively flat bed. At lower velocities, some settling of the eggs was observed. With lower velocities and a flat bed, eggs were trapped near the walls of the flume. When bedforms were present, eggs were trapped in the lee of the bedforms in addition to being trapped near the flume walls. Results of this research study provide insights about transport, suspension, and dispersion of silver carp eggs. The knowledge gained from this study is useful to characterize the critical hydrodynamic conditions of the flow at which surrogates for silver carp water-hardened eggs settle out of suspension, and provides insight into how eggs may interact with riverbed sediments and morphology.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere0145775
JournalPloS one
Issue number12
StatePublished - Dec 1 2015

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General


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