We show that the invasion of round gobies (Apollonia melanostoma) in Green Bay, Lake Michigan, has changed the benthic food web in fundamental ways related to their impact on invasive dreissenid mussels. Dreissenid mussels are of specific interest because they are one of the primary dietary items for round gobies. In this study, we collected rocks from each of 10 study sites along approximately 60 km of the eastern shoreline of Green Bay, Lake Michigan, to assess a temporal change in macroinvertebrate abundance related to the northward movement of the round goby invasion front from a point about midway along the shoreline in 2003 to the entire coast in 2006. The pattern of macroinvertebrate abundance in 2003 suggested that round gobies had already caused significant decreases in macroinvertebrate abundances south of the invasion front (interpretation of the data could have been compromised by confounding environmental gradients). In subsequent sampling in 2006 macroinvertebrates were picked off of sampled rocks in the field and underwater transects were videotaped to estimate round goby abundance at each site. Round gobies were collected for stomach analysis to assist in determining which invertebrates would likely be impacted by goby predation. Our results indicated that by 2006, round gobies had become abundant at those sites where they were absent in 2003 and zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha), quagga mussels (Dreissena bugensis), isopods, amphipods, trichopterans, and gastropods in the newly invaded sites had significantly decreased at the newly invaded sites.
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Vol. 34 • No. 4