Development of Carbon Dioxide Barriers to Deter Invasive Fishes: Insights and Lessons Learned from Bigheaded Carp

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


Invasive species are a threat to biodiversity in freshwater. Removing an aquatic invasive species following arrival is almost impossible, and preventing introduction is a more viable management option. Bigheaded carp are an invasive fish spreading throughout the Midwestern United States and are threatening to enter the Great Lakes. This review outlines the development of carbon dioxide gas (CO2) as a non-physical barrier that can be used to deter the movement of fish and prevent further spread. Carbon dioxide gas could be used as a deterrent either to cause avoidance (i.e., fish swim away from zones of high CO2), or by inducing equilibrium loss due to the anesthetic properties of CO2 (i.e., tolerance). The development of CO2 as a fish deterrent started with controlled laboratory experiments demonstrating stress and avoidance, and then progressed to larger field applications demonstrating avoidance at scales that approach real-world scenarios. In addition, factors that influence the effectiveness of CO2 as a fish barrier are discussed, outlining conditions that could make CO2 less effective in the field; these factors that influence efficacy would be of interest to managers using CO2 to target other fish species, or those using other non-physical barriers for fish.
Original languageEnglish (US)
Article number25
Pages (from-to)1-21
Number of pages21
Issue number3
StatePublished - Sep 2020


  • invasive species
  • bigheaded carp
  • biodiversity
  • behavior
  • physiology
  • toxicity
  • avoidance
  • Toxicity
  • Bigheaded carp
  • Biodiversity
  • Invasive species
  • Physiology
  • Behavior
  • Avoidance

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Aquatic Science
  • Ecology


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