Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: New York
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

New York Project

Characterizing the ecological niche of round goby

April 2017 - June 2019


Participating Agencies


Round goby were introduced into the Great Lakes from the Ponto-Caspian region in the mid 1990s and have since then spread rapidly throughout all 5 Great Lakes. Presently, the invasion front is moving inland via connected waterways. In this project, we characterized the ecological niche of round goby to inform expectations about the suitability of inland lakes to goby invasions. We used novel statistical techniques and videography to provide accurate estimates of goby biomass at whole-lake scales. Results show that depth may mediate the impact of round goby on inland lakes, where shallow habitats are preferred during summer months. These insights are informing managers about which waters are most at risk of round goby establishing self sustaining populations. This project also provided an important educational opportunity, serving as the basis for a graduate seminar at Cornell University on fisheries assessment modeling, contributing to training of the next generation of fisheries ecologists.