Year Established: 2013 Start Date: 2013-03-01 End Date: 2015-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $23,246 Total Non-Federal Funds: $57,424
Principal Investigators: Jay Stauffer
Abstract: Sampling of the tributaries to Lake Erie in 2012 resulted in significant discoveries: 1) first record of Tubenose Gobies in PA and 2) Round Gobies spawning in Elk Creek. The current proposal will determine: 1) Have Tubenose Gobies invaded the tributaries of Lake Erie; 2) do Tubenose Gobies have the potential to invade tributaries of Lake Erie; and 3) what is the spawning season of Round Gobies in Elk Creek. These studies are critical to predict impacts of future invasive species invasions and population growth, leading to the displacement of native benthic fishes in these locations. The first objective is to determine if Tubenose Gobies have colonized the Pennsylvanian tributaries of Lake Erie. We thoroughly sample the first two riffle/pool reaches upstream of Lake Erie in Elk Creek, Walnut Creek, and Twentymile Creek during the spring, summer, and fall to search for Tubenose Gobies. Preliminary data indicate that the Tubenose Goby feeds primarily on zebra mussels and other gastropods. Based on these data, it may be that the tributaries to not support food sources needed to support Tubenose Gobies; however, may be able to switch diets to eat prey species found in these tributaries. Therefore, we will capture Tubenose Gobies from Presque Isle Bay and transport them to holding facilities at the Tom Ridge Center and do in depth diet preference studies. Sampling in 2011 and 2012 yielded juvenile Round Gobies in Elk Creek through September. We collected these young-of-year (yoy) by placing 1 x 2 m frames filled with gravel in the riffle area of Elk Creek. We will repeat these sampling regimes from May – October, and remove the otiliths so we can determine when these fishes hatched.