Using untapped telemetry data to explore the winter biology of freshwater fish

J. E. Marsden, P. J. Blanchfield, J. L. Brooks, T. Fernandes, A. T. Fisk, M. H. Futia, B. L. Hlina, S. V. Ivanova, T. B. Johnson, N. V. Klinard, C. C. Krueger, S. M. Larocque, J. K. Matley, B. McMeans, L. M. O’Connor, G. D. Raby, S. J. Cooke

Research output: Contribution to journalReview articlepeer-review

26 Citations (Scopus)


Winter is a challenging period for aquatic research—weather is uncomfortable, ice is hazardous, equipment fails, and daylength is short. Consequently, until recently relatively little research on freshwater fishes has included winter. Telemetry methods for tracking fish and observing movement behavior are an obvious solution to working in harsh conditions because much of the data can be collected remotely, and passive methods collect data year-round without winter maintenance. Yet, many telemetry studies do not collect data during winter or, if they do, only report data from the ice-free seasons while the remaining data are unused. Here, we briefly summarize the advantages and limitations of using telemetry methods in winter, including acoustic and radio telemetry and passive integrated transponder technology, then review the range of questions related to fish ecology, behavior, bioenergetics, and habitat use that can be addressed in winter using telemetry. Our goals are to highlight the untapped potential of winter fish biology and to motivate scientists to revisit their four-season telemetry data and incorporate objectives specific to winter biology in future study plans.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)115-134
Number of pages20
JournalReviews in Fish Biology and Fisheries
Issue number1
Early online date29 Jan 2021
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2021
Externally publishedYes


  • Acoustic
  • Behavior
  • Movement
  • Techniques
  • Telemetry
  • Tracking


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