Using Turbulence to Identify Preferential Areas for Grass Carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) Larvae in Streams: A Laboratory Study

Andres F. Prada, Amy E. George, Benjamin H. Stahlschmidt, P. Ryan Jackson, Duane C. Chapman, Rafael O. Tinoco

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review


In this experimental series, we studied the swimming capabilities and response of grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) larvae to flow turbulence in a laboratory flume. We compared three different experimental configurations, representing in-stream obstructions commonly found in natural streams (e.g., a gravel bump, a single vertical cylinder, and patches of submerged rigid vegetation). Grass carp larvae (postgas bladder emergence) were introduced to each experimental configuration and subjected to a variety of hydrodynamic forces of different magnitudes and scales. We varied the flow velocities and water depths and found ranges of turbulent kinetic energy and Reynolds stresses that triggered a response in larval trajectories, identified by measured horizontal and vertical swimming speeds for each flow condition. Larvae apparently actively avoided areas with increased levels of turbulence by swimming away, moving faster in short bursts, and expending more energy. In addition to the magnitude of turbulent kinetic energy, the length scale and time scale of turbulent eddies also influenced the larvae response. These findings support the development of new strategies for controlling the spread of grass carp larvae in rivers, as well as the development of numerical tools incorporating active swimming capabilities to predict larval transport in streams.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Article numbere2020WR028102
JournalWater Resources Research
Issue number2
StatePublished - Feb 2021


  • Asian carp
  • aquatic invasive species
  • ecohydraulics
  • grass carp
  • in-stream structures
  • quantitative imaging
  • turbulence

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Water Science and Technology


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