"Evidence for predatory control of the invasive round goby by burbot"
Martin A. Stapanian, Ph.D.
U.S. Geological Survey Lake Erie Biological Station
We coupled bioenergetics modeling with bottom trawl survey results to evaluate the capacity of piscivorous fish in eastern Lake Erie to exert predatory control of the invading population of round goby Neogobius melanostomus. In the offshore (> 20 m deep) waters of eastern Lake Erie, burbot Lota lota is a native top predator, feeding on a suite of prey fishes. The round goby invaded eastern Lake Erie during the late 1990s, and round goby population size increased dramatically during 1999-2004. According to annual bottom trawl survey results, round goby abundance in offshore waters peaked in 2004, but then declined during 2004-2008. Coincidentally, round gobies became an important component of burbot diet beginning in 2003. Using bottom trawling and gill netting, we estimated adult burbot abundance and age structure in eastern Lake Erie during 2007. Diet composition and energy density of eastern Lake Erie burbot were also determined during 2007. This information, along with estimates of burbot growth, burbot mortality, burbot water temperature regime, and energy densities of prey fish from the literature, were incorporated into a bioenergetics model application to estimate annual consumption of round gobies by the adult burbot population. Results indicated that the adult burbot population in eastern Lake Erie annually consumed 1,361 metric tons of round gobies. Based on the results of bottom trawling, we estimated the biomass of yearling and older round gobies in offshore waters eastern Lake Erie during 2007-2008 to be 2,232 metric tons. Thus, the adult burbot population was feeding on round gobies at an annual rate equal to 61% of the estimated round goby standing stock. We concluded that the burbot population had high potential to exert predatory control on round gobies in offshore waters of eastern Lake Erie.
Thursday, January 26, 2012
Classroom Building B119
Students, staff, and faculty are welcome. Light refreshments will be served.
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