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Also: Lake St. Clair
  Round Goby
in the Great Lakes Region

What's New | Overview | Distribution Maps | Studies/Management Plans | Federal Resources | State/Provincial Resources
Current invaders:
Crustaceans: Rusty Crayfish | Spiny Water Flea
Fish: Goby (Round) | Goby (Tubenose) | Rudd | Ruffe | Sea Lamprey | White Perch
Mollusks: Quagga Mussel | Zebra Mussel
Plants: Curly-leaf Pondweed | Eurasian Watermilfoil | Phragmites (non-native) | Purple Loosestrife
Viruses: Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Virus (VHSv)
Potential invaders:
Fish: Asian Carp

[Invasive species home page]

What's New
The creatures you're most likely to encounter in the Great Lakes
Michigan Radio (8/11)
Ever wonder what you can find below the surface of our Great Lakes? A researcher tells us.

Coastal revolution in Lake Michigan?
Interlochen Public Radio (7/10)
Lake Michigan was recently recognized as one of the best places in America to fish for bass, but the change is being driven by an invasive species.

How gobies have altered Lake Michigan fishing
Chicago Sun-Times (5/14)
Round gobies were discovered in Lake Michigan in 1994. Since then, the invasives from the Black and Caspian seas have altered the lake’s natural balance and changed fishing.

Invasive gobies staking out new territory
Great Lakes Echo (2/12)
An uninvited outsider is rapidly showing up in new freshwater territory in Wisconsin—and a recent scientific study indicates the increasing impact the small fish.

Round goby, an invasive fish, appears to be making way up Rouge River
The Republic (11/27)
The nonprofit group Friends of the Rouge found more than a dozen round goby while sampling sections of the Lower Rouge River in southeast Michigan.

Hundreds of bird deaths sound alarm on problems in the Great Lakes
Detroit Free Press (10/18)
Nearly 300 dead or dying loons and other fish-eating birds have been found on the beaches of Sleeping Bear Dunes National Park -- all victims of botulism that has scientists concerned about the changing ecology of the Great Lakes.

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PhragmitesThe round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) is a non-native fish that is causing substantial ecological and economic impacts on Great Lakes fisheries. Originating from central Eurasia, the round goby and the closely related tubenose goby were first detected in the St. Clair River in 1990, introduced via contaminated ballast water of transoceanic vessels.

While tubenose goby populations have remained relatively small, a rapid range expansion of round goby has occurred throughout the Great Lakes since initial introduction via ballast water. Several physiological and behavioral traits have allowed this bottom-dwelling fish to thrive in the Great Lakes ecosystem: aggressive behavior, voracious feeding habits, and their ability to detect water movement, allowing them to feed in complete darkness.

Environmental impact: round gobies have been linked to declines in populations of other bottom-dwelling Great Lakes native fish like mottled sculpin, logperch, and darters. The round goby competes with these species for food and habitat, especially spawning sites. Other competitive advantages held by the round goby over natives are their ability to survive in degraded water conditions, spawn more frequently over a longer period, reproduce rapidly, and guard nests from predation of their eggs. Gobies  consume the eggs and fry of lake trout, posing a substantial threat to this economically and ecologically valuable native fishery. Round gobies also are troublesome to recreational anglers given their ability to "steal" bait, replacing the catch of desired species such as walleye.

Round gobies generally prefer nearshore habitats of rock, sand, cobble, gravel, and/or submerged aquatic vegetation (e.g., macrophytes), but are also invading offshore reefs where they are an increasing source of prey for burbot, lake trout, and lake whitefish. Because round gobies contain less energy upon consumption than native prey, and ingest toxic substances through consumption of large quantities of zebra and quagga mussels, this is problematic for these predator fish, which are also popular sport fish--causing an increase in human health risks for those anglers who eat their catch on a regular basis.

Photo credit: David Jude, University of Michigan SNRE, Center for Great Lake and Aquatic Sciences

For complete overview, identification and management:
View full, print-ready factsheet

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Distribution Maps
Geographic information on the location of aquatic invasive species sightings in the United States is made available through the U.S. Geological Survey, Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) program.

NAS distribution maps for the round goby

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Studies, Assessments and Management Plans
Bioacoustic traps for the management of the round goby (2010)
University of Minnesota, Duluth
Investigating the use of bioaccoustic techniques to interrupt round goby spawning.

Fish Pesticide May Control Unwanted Round Goby (2008)
Scientists evaluate four fish pesticides, as well as experimentally-manipulated dissolved oxygen levels, for toxicity to round gobies.

Impact of Data Availability on Site Assessment and Predictive Behavior of Aquatic Invasive Species (2010)
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Aquatic Nuisance Species Research Program
Outlines the status of documentation and physiological ecology in relation to the ability to predict site susceptibility to new invasions.

Scientists use odour cues to lure invasive round gobies into traps (2008)
Great Lakes Fishery Commission
Researchers used the urine of male round gobies to lure females into traps for removal. Preliminary evidence showed that these methods were effective at disrupting goby behavior.

Use of electrical barriers to deter movement of round goby (2001)
American Fisheries Society Symposium (Vol. 26)
Researchers performed both laboratory trials and field tests to determine the effectiveness of a series of electric cables in preventing the movement of adult round goby among watersheds in the Great Lakes region.

What Will Round Gobies Do to Great Lakes Streams? (Web video, 2011)
University of Wisconsin Sea Grant
After sampling round gobies in 26 Wisconsin streams and observing no devastating ecosystem impacts, University of Wisconsin researchers are continuing stream assessments throughout the state to gain a deeper understanding of the potential impacts (or lack thereof) of this Great Lakes invader.

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U.S. and Canadian Federal Resources
Aquatic Invasive Species
Fisheries and Oceans Canada

Nab the Aquatic Invader – Gabby "the Lowlife" Round Goby
Sea Grant Nonindigenous Species (SGNIS)

Round Goby
U.S. Geological Survey - Great Lakes Science Center

Round Goby
National Sea Grant Network, Geographic Education Alliances
Exotic Aquatics on the Move

Round Goby
Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force Species of Concern

Round Goby
Stop Aquatic Hitchhikers!

Round Goby - Neogobius melanostomus
U.S. Army Corps of Engineers - Aquatic Nuisance Species Research Program

Round Goby Species Profile
U.S. Department of Agriculture - National Invasive Species Information Center

Roundy Goby Factsheet
U.S. Geological Survey - Nonindigenous Aquatic Species

State and Provincial Resources
Alien Profile: Round Goby
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources - Environmental Education for Kids

Great Lakes Photography: Round Goby
Michigan Sea Grant

Nuisance Species: Round Goby
Ohio Department of Natural Resources - Division of Wildlife

Round Gobies Invade North America
Minnesota Sea Grant

Round Goby
Illinois Environmental Protection Agency

Round Goby
Minnesota Department of Natural Resources

Round Goby
New York Sea Grant
New York Invasive Species Web Site

Round Goby
Aquatic Invasive Species of Pennsylvania

Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus)
Minnesota Sea Grant

Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus)
Minnesota Sea Grant

Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus)
New York Sea Grant

Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus)
Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters - Invading Species Awareness Program

Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus)
Wisconsin Sea Grant
Fish of the Great Lakes

Round Goby Fact Sheet
Indiana Department of Natural Resources

Round Goby Factsheet
Pennsylvania Sea Grant

Round Goby Factsheet
Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources

Round Goby Factsheet
Wisconsin Sea Grant

Round Goby Watch Card
Great Lakes Sea Grant Network

The Round Goby
University of Windsor

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Updated: April 2, 2015
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