Water Resources Research Act Program

Details for Project ID 2018NY243B

Invasive round goby as a water quality assessment tool: bioindicators of contaminants in Northeastern U.S. inland waters

Institute: New York
Year Established: 2018 Start Date: 2018-03-01 End Date: 2019-02-28
Total Federal Funds: $9,750 Total Non-Federal Funds: $5,525

Principal Investigators: Suresh Sethi, James Jackson, Lars Rudstam, Katie Fiorella

Abstract: The invasive fish Round goby (Neogobious melanostomus) is rapidly expanding across New York inland waterbodies and is rapidly moving towards the densely populated Hudson River system. After being recorded in Lake Erie and Lake Ontario in the early 1990s, they have since spread through the Erie Canal to Cross Lake, Onondaga Lake, Oneida Lake, Cayuga Lake, and possibly Seneca Lake (anecdotal evidence). Where introduced, round goby quickly reach high biomass with densities of up to 70 fish/m2 observed in Cayuga Lake by 2016. As an abundant new ecosystem component, round goby become part of the contaminant cycle. As predators, round goby foraging behavior potentially exposes them to high contaminant loads, consuming benthic invertebrates and filter feeding invasive mussels. As goby range throughout habitats they inhabit, and because they are easy to sample, they provide a bioindicator opportunity to track contaminant levels in inland waterbodies, providing spatially extensive bioindicators of water quality. Here, we seek to utilize a combination of empirical sampling and modeling to understand the role of round goby as contaminant vectors, and assess their use as bioindicators of water quality. Building from existing contaminants data hosted by the NY State, our objectives are to test contaminant loads in round goby across a range of inland waterbodies of varying water qualities to assess whether fish contaminants track with environmental contaminant loads. By providing information on the efficacy of goby as bioindicators, we seek to provide waterbody managers with novel tools and information to understand water quality and contaminant cycling in inland aquatic ecosystems.