Invasive Species Compendium

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Abstract

Seasonal migration and fine-scale movement of invasive round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) in a Great Lakes tributary.

Abstract

To determine whether invasive round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) from Lake Ontario were establishing a year-round population in a tributary stream or migrating to the lake, we assessed population and individual movement patterns using mark-recapture assessment generated from weekly backpack electrofishing from May until November 2016. Round goby abundance was low in spring, peaked in summer and decreased again in autumn, suggesting seasonal inward stream migration and outward migration back to the lake. Adult round goby movement patterns were positively associated with changes in water temperature, but this was not the case for juveniles. Juveniles displayed a preference for shallow, upstream habitats. Observations of reproductive individuals coupled with a peak in juvenile abundance following the peak in adult abundance indicate that the tributary was used for reproduction and recruitment. The individual movement was primarily upstream in spring, and there was little net movement in summer, likely during reproduction. Downstream movement occurred in autumn over a short time period, suggesting rapid outmigration to the lake. The combined observations of seasonal population structure and individual movement suggest that tributary streams connected to large, infested waterbodies can be used for round goby reproduction and recruitment, rather than year-round residence. This study provides evidence of round goby seasonal migration and their individual movement patterns within tributary streams, which complements an earlier study in Lake Erie tributaries and may be a common occurrence in other Great Lakes tributaries.