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Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

Round Goby

Round Goby
Round Goby
Why are they a problem?

Gobies are capable of rapid population growth after they reach new areas. They have shown the ability to out-compete native fish for food and habitat because of their (1) aggressiveness, (2) ability to survive in poor water quality conditions, (3) ability to feed in complete darkness, and (4) long spawning period (April through September). Another area of concern involves potential predation on the eggs and fry of lake trout. 

Fast Facts
How far have they spread?
Black and Caspian Seas
Preferred habitat:
Rocky or gravel areas
Size: up to 10 inches
Method of introduction: Ballast water discharges from ships

After first being discovered in 1990 along the St. Claire River (a Canadian river north of Detroit), gobies have been found in eastern and southern Lake Erie, southern Lake Huron, southern Lake Michigan, and western Lake Superior. They now have access to America's largest watershed because the Grand Calumet River (which begins at Lake Michigan near Chicago) connects with the Mississippi River.

What are UMESC scientists doing to help?
scientists testing toxicity on round goby Toxicity testing on round goby

The UMESC scientists are concerned about the spread of round goby into the Mississippi River. They have been working on the use of chemical toxicants as a potential management tool.


Schreier, Theresa M., Dawson, V.K., Larson, W. 2008 Effectiveness of pisciades for controlling round goby (Neogobius melanostomus). Great Lakes Res. 34:253-264

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