We studied the impact of round gobies (Neogobius melanostomus) on lithophilic invertebrates (having an association with a stony substrate) across an invasion front along the Door Peninsula, which flanks eastern Green Bay, Lake Michigan. We conducted both a cross-invasion front field survey and a rock-transfer experiment. For the field survey, we collected pairs of rocks from ten sites, including sites north of the invasion front and south of the invasion front. Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha), quagga mussels (D. bugensis), and non-mussel invertebrates were removed from the rocks and enumerated. The rocks were measured and the algae removed and weighed. Round gobies were censused by videotaping along transects. There was a statistically significant negative relationship with round goby abundance for most invertebrates, including zebra mussels, quagga mussels, isopods, and snails, with the result for amphipods being suggestive. For the experiment, we transferred 20 rocks in bags from a round goby “absent” site with 10 going to a round goby abundant site and 10 being returned to the original site. The rocks incubated overnight, invertebrates were removed the next day, and the rocks were measured. There were significantly fewer zebra mussels, quagga mussels, isopods, amphipods, and snails from the rocks incubated at the round goby abundant site compared to those returned to the round goby-free site. Thus, the results of the survey and rock-transfer experiment suggest that round gobies are influencing the benthic macroinvertebrate abundance through predation. The negative impact on mussels is probably due to direct predation while the negative impact on the other invertebrates may be a combination of direct predation and indirect effects due to the loss of the microhabitat or food that zebra mussels produce.
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Vol. 32 • No. 1