Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Effect of round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) invasion on blue mussel (Mytilus edulis trossulus) population and winter diet of the long-tailed duck (Clangula hyemalis).

Abstract

The invasive round goby has established a viable population within 9 years of its first introduction to Lithuanian coastal waters (SE Baltic Sea). During its expansion phase, abundances increased 23-fold, which led to the near complete eradication of its main prey, the blue mussel, at <20 m depth. The round goby population showed a stabilizing trend after blue mussel biomass was depleted; however, their abundance has not declined. The round goby feeds efficiently on newly settled mollusks, causing a severe constraint for blue mussel recovery. Changes in blue mussel availability and size structure induced a dietary shift in wintering long-tailed duck towards fish prey. An energetically dense food source sustains a good body condition in long-tailed ducks, however the change in trophic position (from 3.1 to 4.3 trophic level) suggests the potential for a reduction in their carrying capacity. Results from this study also show that coastal habitats with low and unpredictable population dynamics of blue mussel become less attractive wintering sites for long-tailed duck in the Baltic Sea. We also document a cascading effect of invasive species in the food web.