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Eastward expansion of Round Goby in New York: Assessment of detection methods and current range

March 12, 2021

The Round Goby Neogobius melanostomus has spread rapidly around the Great Lakes region since its introduction to North America in 1990. In 2014, a specimen was captured in the New York State Canal System west of Utica, prompting concerns that Round Goby would soon reach the ecologically and economically valuable watersheds of Lake Champlain and the Hudson River estuary. The establishment of Round Goby populations elsewhere has been linked to a number of negative ecological consequences, yet methods for monitoring the invasion front of this species remain limited. The objectives of this study were to assess the current distribution of Round Goby in central New York and to determine the most effective methods for monitoring the invasion front. This was achieved by concurrently using benthic trawling, seining, minnow traps, and environmental DNA (eDNA) twice annually from 2016 to 2019 at 12 sites on the canal system between Oneida Lake and the Hudson River. Of the three traditional gear types, benthic trawling was the most effective method and captured Round Goby as far east as Utica by 2019. This finding suggests only minimal eastward expansion of Round Goby occurred between 2014 and 2019. Round Goby DNA was detected in water samples during all surveys in which individuals were captured with trawling, and the estimated concentration of DNA explained 69% of the variability in trawl catch. At multiple study sites, Round Goby DNA was identified during consecutive surveys before Round Goby were first captured with trawling. This suggests that in lotic waters, eDNA has the potential to forecast or serve as a sentinel for the expansion of Round Goby to new locations. Our results demonstrate the importance of using eDNA in a repeated sampling framework and supplementing eDNA sampling with some level of effort with traditional sampling methods.

Citation Information

Publication Year 2021
Title Eastward expansion of Round Goby in New York: Assessment of detection methods and current range
DOI 10.1002/tafs.10290
Authors Scott D. George, Barry P. Baldigo, Christopher B. Rees, Meredith L. Bartron, Dylan R. Winterhalter
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Transactions of the American Fisheries Society
Series Number
Index ID 70219433
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization New York Water Science Center