Survival and drifting patterns of grass carp eggs and larvae in response to interactions with flow and sediment in a laboratory flume

PLoS One. 2018 Dec 19;13(12):e0208326. doi: 10.1371/journal.pone.0208326. eCollection 2018.


A series of laboratory experiments was conducted to better understand the behavior of grass carp eggs and larvae in moving water in order to develop and implement new strategies for control and prediction of their dispersal and drift at early life stages. Settling velocity and density of a representative sample of eggs were estimated, and three trials of flume experiments with different flow conditions were conducted with live eggs in a temperature-controlled setting with a mobile sediment bed. In these trials, egg and larval stages were continuously analyzed over periods of 80 hours; and eggs and larvae interactions with the flow and sediment bed were monitored and characterized qualitatively and quantitatively. Survival rates were quantified after each trial, highlighting physical causes for increased mortality. Detailed flow analysis was correlated to the observed drifting and swimming behavior of eggs and larvae, to estimate distributions across the water depth, as well as traveling and swimming speeds. Evidence of the influence of mean and turbulent flow in the suspension and transport of eggs are reported, and swimming patterns of larvae at different developmental stages are described. These findings support the development of new strategies for monitoring the spread of grass carp eggs and larvae in rivers, and provide new inputs to predict conditions favorable for spawning and hatching, allowing for mitigation measures at early life stages, which are critical to control their dispersal.

Publication types

  • Research Support, U.S. Gov't, Non-P.H.S.

MeSH terms

  • Animals
  • Behavior, Animal
  • Carps / physiology*
  • Eggs*
  • Larva / physiology
  • Rivers
  • Swimming / physiology

Grant support

The U.S. Geological Survey (USGS) offered a funding opportunity to a CESU partner (the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign in this case) to work on these laboratory experiments: Cooperative Agreement (G17AC00060) for CESU-affiliated partner with USGS ( under the Great Rivers Cooperative Ecosystems Studies Unit (CESU, The USGS provided funds to support Andres F. Prada's tuition and stipend, and personnel to deal with grass carp eggs from spawning at the Columbia Environmental Research Center in Columbia, MO to transportation to the University of Illinois in Champaign, IL, where the experiments were conducted. We had several meetings where methodology and experimental designs were discussed. Data collected was analyzed at the USGS Illinois-Iowa Water Science Center in Urbana, IL. We all agreed that PLOS ONE is an excellent journal to publish this work, and the manuscript passed a couple of internal reviews where USGS personnel provided valuable comments to improve it.