An individual-based model for the migration of pike (Esox lucius) in the river Yser, Belgium

Jan M. Baetens, Steffie Van Nieuland, Ine Pauwels, Bernard De Baets, Ans Mouton, Peter Goethals

    Research output: Contribution to journalA1: Web of Science-article


    For many decades, pike populations in Belgium have been suffering from a decline of the environmental
    quality due to habitat deterioration, water pollution and many other degrading phenomena. Since past
    attempts to rehabilitate the pike populations had only limited success, it is of importance to gain insight
    into the spatio-temporal dynamics of pike such that more effective restoration programs can be effectuated
    in the future. Ideally, this can be accomplished by relying on telemetry data, but since the collection
    of such data is both labour-intensive and costly, researchers often resort to a simulation-based approach,
    which on its turn requires a sound spatio-temporal model. Therefore, and as a first step towards an
    integrated individual-based model (IBM) for describing pike dynamics in rivers, an IBM mimicking the
    movement of pike in the river Yser, Belgium, is proposed in this paper. This model considers the specificities
    of pike, such as its seasonally dependent migration, swimming speed and habitat preference,
    and is based upon environmental data from the river Yser. It is shown that the in silico spatio-temporal
    dynamics coincides with the one that is typically inferred from in situ observations. Amongst other things,
    the proposed model may be relied upon to identify the most appropriate management and restoration
    measures through a scenario analysis.
    Original languageEnglish
    Pages (from-to)40-52
    Number of pages13
    Publication statusPublished - 3-Apr-2013

    Thematic list

    • Management

    EWI Biomedical sciences

    • B003-ecology

    Taxonomic list

    • fishes (Pisces)


    • aquatic management
    • decision making instruments

    Geographic list

    • Belgium


    • modelling

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