Jenna Vergeynst

PhD Student

Prof. dr. ir. Ingmar Nopens - Ghent University

Research background

Man-made structures are major barriers for fish migration worldwide. Some of the most strongly affected species are European eel (Anguilla anguilla) and Atlantic salmon (Salmo salar). In Flanders, the Albert Canal is an important migration route for eel and salmon. Navigation locks on the canal form barriers to fish migration, due to non-discontinuous flow and the presence of hydropower stations which can cause damage to fish. Insight in the relation between fish behaviour and hydrodynamics can help to build fish-friendly structures.

Research objective
  • Quantify fish behaviour at the micro-scale near man-made structures
  • Build and validate a CFD-model to predict hydrodynamics near those structures
  • Correlate the observed fish behaviour to the simulated hydrodynamics
Research methodology

The behaviour of eel and salmon are tracked by acoustic telemetry at the navigation locks and hydropower station of Kwaadmechelen (Ham). We developed a CFD-model in OpenFOAM for prediction of the hydrodynamics near the structure, which we will validate by measurements with an Acoustic Doppler Current Profiler and a fish-shaped sensor. Finally, we will use pattern recognition techniques to find a relation between fish behaviour and hydraulic conditions.