Diet shift response in round goby, Neogobius melanostomus, based on size, sex, depth, and habitat in the western basin of Lake Erie

Authors

  • H. A. Thompson,

    1. The Franz Theodore Stone Laboratory, Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University, Put-in-Bay, OH, USA
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  • T. P. Simon

    Corresponding author
    1. The Franz Theodore Stone Laboratory, Department of Evolution, Ecology, and Organismal Biology, The Ohio State University, Put-in-Bay, OH, USA
    2. The School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University, Bloomington, IN, USA
    • Author's address: Thomas P. Simon, The School of Public and Environmental Affairs, Indiana University, 1315 E. Tenth St., Bloomington, IN 47405, USA.

      E-mail: tsimon@indiana.edu

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Summary

This study examines the diet of the round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) in the western basin of Lake Erie. As an invasive benthic feeder, the round goby has the potential to affect smallmouth bass and other native species. Round goby (n = 100) were collected during summer 2011 and stomach contents were examined to determine diet patterns and possible ontogenetic diet shifts. Individual round goby were grouped by sex, size (small < 65 mm, large ≥ 65 mm), depth of habitat (shallow < 2 m, deep > 5 m), and habitat type (natural shallows, anthropogenically modified shallows, and deep waters). Gut fullness ranged from 10 to 100% with 23 stomachs presenting 100% fullness. Round goby consumed 27 different food items including abiotic (sand grains, gravel), floral (algae, fine leaved vascular plants), and fauna items. The Index of Relative Importance (IRI) and comparative z-tests were used to assess correlations and differences. Two-way z-tests revealed a significant difference in mouth gape related to size (z = −5.56377, P = 2.64e-08), and habitat depth (z = 3.34262, P = 0.00083). A significant linear correlation was also found between mouth gape standardized by head length (HL) for both males (P = 2.63e-9) and females (P = 1.3e-4). Two-way z-tests also revealed a significant difference in gonadosomatic index (GSI) related to sex (z = 6.07727, P = 6.11248e-10), but not size. A significant difference in gut fullness was also found related to sex (z = −3.34743, P = 0.00082), habitat depth (z = 3.16336, P = 0.00156), and habitat type (z = −2.7398, P = 0.00615). IRI values demonstrated a diet selective of veliger mussels (IRI = 2462.01), juvenile mussels (IRI = 1073.03), cladocerans (IRI = 4804.31), and chironomids (IRI = 1012.12). While previous studies have focused on round goby diet shifts from macroinvertebrates to bivalves, most studies did not evaluate changes in diet among multiple categories. Furthering knowledge of multiple aspects of goby diet may aid in developing management techniques to deter future round goby invasion.

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