Common carp are arguably the most invasive and damaging fish worldwide. Increasingly,
invasive fish species are targeted for population control by limiting their dispersal. Because of the species’ dependence on migration through streams and rivers for reproduction, the fish might be targeted using barriers that impede migration. Fish barriers usually consist of some sort of device laid across a stream or river channel that emits an aversive stimulus
(electrical, acoustic, physical, etc.). Ongoing research at the Sorensen Lab is looking into the development of bubble-based acoustical barriers to limit the migration of carps. These acoustical barriers are designed to take advantage of the fact that cyprinid fishes (the family that includes invasive carps) possess a very acute auditory sense which is analogous to human hearing. In this way, aversive acoustical stimuli released by barriers should be especially effective at controlling movement of cyprinids. This study serves to quantify and qualify the behaviour of common carp in daylight and darkness through video capture of crossing events occurring near an acoustical bubble barrier. The role of vision in the fish’s response is examined in this way. The existing barrier apparatus was designed and used by Dan Zielinski in his thesis research. In general it is concluded that the fish displayed significant avoidance behaviour but also will occasionally enter and/or cross the barrier (as suggested by previous work). At the same time, the video proves that conditioning to the aversion can happen quickly. The fish schooled the majority of the time during trials, and most crossings were done in a parallel orientation to water flow. The distance from barrier and other associated behaviours are highly variable between groups and over time, suggesting a heavy role of fish personality (shy-bold axis) and learning in the efficacy of the barrier.