Impacts of the Eurasian round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) on benthic communities in the upper St. Lawrence River

Author: Ricciardi, Anthony

Source: Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences, Volume 69, Number 3, March 2012 , pp. 469-486(18)

Publisher: NRC Research Press

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Abstract:

An invasive benthivorous fish, the Eurasian round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) is abundant throughout the lower Great Lakes – St. Lawrence River system. We examined the round goby’s potential to alter benthic communities on cobble substrates in the upper St. Lawrence River. During the summers of 2008 and 2009, macroinvertebrates and benthic algae were sampled across sites with varying goby densities. Archived data from various sites in 2004–2006 (prior to invasion) were available for comparison. Macroinvertebrate community composition varied significantly among samples grouped into categories based on goby density and time since invasion. Macroinvertebrate diversity and dominance by large-bodied taxa declined with increasing goby density. Surprisingly, dreissenid biomass did not vary consistently with goby density, in contrast to studies in the Great Lakes. The biomass of all non-dreissenid taxa was negatively correlated with increasing goby density across sites and over time at three of four sites. Negative effects were most pronounced on the biomass of gastropods. Benthic algal biomass increased with goby density across sites, suggesting a trophic cascade driven by the impacts of gobies on gastropods and other algivores. Our study highlights the potential ecosystem impacts of an expanding goby population in a large river.

Document Type: Research Article

DOI: http://dx.doi.org/10.1139/f2011-139

Publication date: March 5, 2012

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  • Published continuously since 1901 (under various titles), this monthly journal is the primary publishing vehicle for the multidisciplinary field of aquatic sciences. It publishes perspectives (syntheses, critiques, and re-evaluations), discussions (comments and replies), articles, and rapid communications, relating to current research on cells, organisms, populations, ecosystems, or processes that affect aquatic systems. The journal seeks to amplify, modify, question, or redirect accumulated knowledge in the field of fisheries and aquatic science. Occasional supplements are dedicated to single topics or to proceedings of international symposia.
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