[en] Hydro acoustic telemetry ; Probability of detection ; Positioning error ; Rhône ; France ; HTI
[en] In situ fixed acoustic telemetry methods make it possible to study simultaneously the detailed movements of individual fish and their relationship to the environment, but the properties of these methods is little known in harsh physical conditions. We examined the probability of tag detection by the system and the positioning error for detected tags of an existing telemetry system installed with 32 fixed hydrophones in a reach of the fast-flowing Rhône River in France. The reach was 1.8 km long and had heterogeneous thermal and hydraulic conditions described by a two-dimensional hydraulic model. We compared positions detected by the system with true positions estimated using a tachometer or a differential GPS, for various sets of experimental tag emissions. We analyzed how the probability of detection and the positioning error were affected by user-defined variables and three groups of environmental variables describing the configuration of the hydrophones around tag position, the physical environment at tag position and the reception quality. Tag emissions from the center channel had an average probability of detection (40-50%) higher than emissions originating from positions close to the banks, and were positioned with smaller average errors (3-5 m). The probability of detection of emissions typically varied between near 0% and 80% with configuration variables (density of surrounding hydrophones and location of tag relative to the hydrophones) and also decreased in the presence of coarse substrate. The positioning error was mainly reduced when user-defined variables of the triangulation software were set by an expert user. Configuration variables also influenced the positioning error with weaker effects than those observed for detection probability.