The collapse of Diporeia spp. and invasions of dreissenid mussels (zebra, Dreissena polymorpha; quagga, D. bugensis) and round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) have been associated with declines in abundance of native benthic fishes in the Great Lakes, including historically abundant slimy sculpin (Cottus cognatus). We hypothesized that as round goby colonized deeper habitat, slimy sculpin avoided habitat competition, predation, and aggression from round goby by shifting to deeper habitat. Accordingly, we predicted increased depth overlap of slimy sculpin with both round goby and deepwater sculpin (Myoxocephalus thompsonii) that resulted in habitat squeeze by both species. We used long-term bottom trawl data from Lakes Michigan, Huron, and Ontario to evaluate shifts in slimy sculpin depth and their depth overlap with round goby and deepwater sculpin. Lake Huron most supported our hypotheses as slimy sculpin shifted to deeper habitat coincident with the round goby invasion, and depth overlap between slimy sculpin and both species recently increased. Slimy sculpin depth trends in Lakes Michigan and Ontario suggest other ecological and environmental factors better predicted sculpin depth in these lakes.
|Title||Slimy sculpin depth shifts and habitat squeeze following the round goby invasion in the Laurentian Great Lakes|
|Authors||Shea L. Volkel, Kelly F. Robinson, David Bunnell, Michael J. Connerton, Jeremy P. Holden, Darryl W. Hondorp, Brian C. Weidel|
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Series Title||Journal of Great Lakes Research|
|Record Source||USGS Publications Warehouse|
|USGS Organization||Great Lakes Science Center|