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A large dataset of detection and submeter-accurate 3-D trajectories of juvenile Chinook salmon

Cite this dataset

Martinez, Jayson et al. (2021). A large dataset of detection and submeter-accurate 3-D trajectories of juvenile Chinook salmon [Dataset]. Dryad.


Acoustic telemetry has been used extensively to study the behavior of aquatic animals. The Juvenile Salmon Acoustic Telemetry System (JSATS) is one such system; it was developed for studying juvenile salmonids but has been used to study numerous species. A recent innovation of the JSATS system is an injectable acoustic transmitter that is small enough to be implanted through injection instead of surgery. Use of the JSATS system involves deploying cabled acoustic receivers at hydroelectric dams and autonomous acoustic receivers in free-flowing sections of a river. The raw detections from acoustic-tagged fish are processed to remove potential false positives. The clean detections (5,147,996 total) are used to generate detection events and to compute 3-D trajectories (403,900 total), which are used to assign fish to a passage route through a dam. Controlled field testing involving a high-accuracy Global Positioning System receiver is done to validate the submeter accuracy of the trajectories. The JSATS dataset could be reused for expanding the understanding of near-dam fish behavior.


Two types of acoustic receivers were deployed for this study: cabled acoustic receivers and autonomous acoustic receivers. These systems were primarily deployed in the Snake River in eastern Washington State, although a couple of the autonomous receiver arrays were deployed in the lower Columbia River along the Oregon/Washington border. Two hydropower dams were outfitted with cabled acoustic receiver arrays: LGS and LMN.

While each anesthetized fish was at the data station for recording physical parameters, a second person inserted both a disinfected PIT tag and an injectable acoustic transmitter, assigned to a specific fish, into a sterilized 8-gauge stainless-steel hypodermic needle. First, the injectable transmitter was placed into the needle, battery-end first. The PIT tag was then also inserted in the same needle. A sanitized plastic cap was then placed over each end of the needle to retain the tags. Once both tags had been placed in the needle, the tag loaded needle was handed to the surgeon working at the tagging station.

The fish implanted with the injectable acoustic transmitters were released using the same methods as fish tagged with commercially available acoustic transmitters for a separate large-scale survival study. All fish were tagged at LMN and transported in insulated totes by truck to the single release site. There were five release locations across the river at the release site, and equal numbers of fish were released at each of the five locations. Releases occurred for 11 consecutive days (between 22 June and 2 July, 2013) and were staggered between day and night.

Usage notes

Use of JSATS can generate a large volume of data. To manage and visualize the data, an integrated suite of science-based tools known as the Hydropower Biological Evaluation Toolset (HBET) can be used.


United States Army Corps of Engineers

Water Power Technologies Office