Can North American fish passage tools work for South American migratory fishes?

In North America, the Numerical Fish Surrogate (NFS) is used to design fish bypass systems for emigrating juvenile salmon as they migrate from hatchery outfalls and rearing habitats to adult habitat in the oceans. The NFS is constructed of three linked modules: 1) a computational fluid dynamics model describes the complex flow fields upstream of dams at a scale sufficiently resolved to analyze, understand and forecast fish movement, 2) a particle tracking model interpolates hydraulic information from the fixed nodes of the computational fluid model mesh to multiple locations relevant to migrating fish, and 3) a behavior model simulates the cognition and behavior of individual fish in response to the fluid dynamics predicted by the computational fluid dynamics model. These three modules together create a virtual reality where virtual fish exhibit realistic dam approach behaviors and can be counted at dam exits in ways similar to the real world. Once calibrated and validated with measured fish movement and passage data, the NFS can accurately predict fish passage proportions with sufficient precision to allow engineers to select one optimum alternative from among many competing structural or operational bypass alternatives. Although South American fish species are different from North American species, it is likely that the basic computational architecture and numerical methods of the NFS can be used for fish conservation in South America. Consequently, the extensive investment made in the creation of the NFS need not be duplicated in South America. However, its use in South America will require that the behavioral response of the continent's unique fishes to hydrodynamic cues must be described, codified and tested before the NFS can be used to conserve fishes by helping design efficient South American bypass systems. To this end, we identify studies that could be used to describe the movement behavior of South American fishes of sufficient detail that they could be used to develop, calibrate and validate a South American version of the NFS.
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