Seasonal migrations of fish populations can have large effects on lake nutrient budgets and food web dynamics, but the addition of a migrating non‐native species may alter these dynamics. The Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus) arrived in Lake Ontario (USA/Canada) about 20 years ago with a documented history of annual offshore–inshore migrations in its native range. Here we combined nearshore, fixed‐plot video with offshore trawl data to document the annual migration of this population over multiple years. This behaviour was correlated with seasonal, nearshore temperature changes. The population size structure and mean fish length of returning fish were smaller than those of out‐migrating fish. The out‐migrating population contained an estimated 37.7 metric tonnes of phosphorous; and we estimated roughly 20 metric tonnes were translocated to and remained in offshore waters over the winter months, representing an important nutrient subsidy to a variety of offshore piscivorous fish. Lake Sturgeon (Acipenser fulvescens) have incorporated Round Goby extensively into their diet and consume a size range of fish matching the size range of missing Round Goby that fail to return to the nearshore. We conclude Round Goby are an important prey within the food web of Lake Ontario and translocate roughly 6.5% of the monthly total phosphorous load entering from surface waters. Further investigations of the nutrient content, population size structure and fate of migrating Round Goby in Lake Ontario are warranted to clarify the extent of this prey and nutrient subsidy in ongoing assessments of lake condition.
|Publication Subtype||Journal Article|
|Title||Dynamics of the seasonal migration of Round Goby (Neogobius melanostomus, Pallas 1814) and implications for the Lake Ontario food web|
|Series title||Ecology of Freshwater Fish|
|Contributing office(s)||Great Lakes Science Center|
|Country||Canada, United States|
|Other Geospatial||Lake Ontario|
|Google Analytic Metrics||Metrics page|