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Fish Research Taken to Next Level with Sensor Fish 2.0

December 2014

Salmon traveling through the Pacific Northwest waterways face many natural hazards in their trek toward the ocean, but they also face manmade hazards: hydroelectric dams. Pacific Northwest National Laboratory researchers have created a synthetic fish that aims to make these dams more fish-friendly.

Sensor Fish, a juvenile-salmon sized device filled with sensors, measures the physical stress experienced by fish during their passage through dams. The second-generation Sensor Fish costs 80 percent less than the original version of the technology and can be deployed in additional dam types. It includes new sensors that measure temperature and orientation, improved tolerance for pressure and acceleration, and also houses a radio transmitter and automatic retrieval system.

Data from the sensors will help hydroelectric engineers consider alternative designs for turbines and fish passage techniques that pose less risk to migrating fish. Research related to the second-generation Sensor Fish was published in AIP’s Review of Scientific Instruments in November 2014. Funding for the second-generation Sensor Fish came from DOE's Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and the Electric Power Research Institute. Earlier versions were supported by DOE, the Bonneville Power Administration and the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.

To learn more about the second-generation Sensor Fish, read the PNNL News Release.


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