A method for measuring meaningful physiological variables in fish blood without surgical cannulation

William George. Davison*, Christopher A. Cooper, Katherine A. Sloman, Rod W. Wilson*

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
7 Downloads (Pure)


Gaining meaningful blood samples from water-breathing fish is a significant challenge. Two main methods typically used are grab ‘n’ stab and surgical cannulation. Both methods have benefits, but also significant limitations under various scenarios. Here we present a method of blood sampling laboratory fish involving gradual induction of anaesthesia within their home tank, avoiding physical struggling associated with capture, followed by rapid transfer to a gill irrigation system to maintain artificial ventilation via adequate gill water flow and then followed by sampling the caudal vasculature. This method negates many blood chemistry disturbances associated with grab ‘n’ stab (i.e., low pH and oxygen, elevated lactate, CO2 and stress hormones) and generates results that are directly comparable to cannulated fish under a wide range of experimentally-induced acid–base scenarios (acidosis and alkalosis). Crucially this method was successful in achieving accurate acid–base blood measurements from fish ten times smaller than are typically suitable for cannulation. This opens opportunities not previously possible for studies that relate to basic physiology, sustainable aquaculture, ecotoxicology, conservation, and climate change.
Original languageEnglish
Article number899
Number of pages12
JournalScientific Reports
Issue number1
Publication statusPublished - 17 Jan 2023


  • animal physiology
  • haemic and immune systems
  • ichthyology


Dive into the research topics of 'A method for measuring meaningful physiological variables in fish blood without surgical cannulation'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this