February 23, 2024 @ 12:20 pm – 1:00 pm
Holdsworth Room 105
Adrian Jordaan
The seminar will also be available on zoom:
Fish passage at barriers: integrating fish locomotion and biomechanics.
Dr. Elsa Goerig


Access to quality habitat is essential to maintaining healthy fish populations. Natural and anthropogenic features of the riverscape such as falls, hydropower dams or road crossings may hinder fish movements and lead to loss of connectivity between complementary habitats. These barriers alter species dispersion, fish populations and biodiversity. The ability to cope with often challenging hydraulic conditions that separate habitats is related to the species’ behavior and swimming capabilities. The knowledge of fish swimming mechanics and hydrodynamics is thus critical to assessing the ability of individual species to surmount environmental barriers and develop reliable fish passage designs. Here I present results from recent and ongoing projects on fish locomotion patterns, swimming performance and the concept of selective passage at barriers, and discuss the challenges of maintaining river connectivity to preserve indigenous fish populations while managing invasive species and developing natural resources for human needs.


Dr. Elsa Goerig graduated from the Institut National de la Recherche Scientifique (INRS – Canada) in 2017, with her doctoral work focusing on modelling brook trout movements through culverts. After a brief postdoc at UMass-Amherst, she joined the Museum of Comparative Zoology at Harvard, where she is now a research associate. She is also affiliated to the USGS Eastern Ecological Science Center, conducting collaborative research at the S.O Conte fish Research Center. Elsa is interested in fish locomotion and biomechanics as limiting or optimizing factors in fish passage designs, as well as how species-specific behavior may contribute to defining opportunities for selective passage at barriers.  Her work integrates both fundamental and applied research on various diadromous and freshwater species. She is an early-career fellow on the Great Lakes Fishery Commission sea lamprey research board, and a member of the Fish Passage conference steering committee.