The motion of hydrokinetic energy conversion devices poses a potential risk to nearby aquatic animals. This is particularly true of devices with high rotational velocities.
Fish swimming experiments in the Brown University flume are investigating fish interactions with the oscillating hydrofoil. Behavioral responses to the hydrofoil are quantified by video analysis, and physiological responses are monitored by measuring fish stress hormone levels. These data are used to provide feedback to the engineering team.
The low velocity of the hydrofoil cycle minimizes the risk of physical contact with nearby fish. Behavioral and hormonal data show that the fish do not alter their swimming behavior or experience elevated stress in the presence of the hydrofoil.