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Great Lakes Coastal Wetlands as Refuge for Native Fishes: Are Wetlands Resistant to Invasion by Recent Exotics?

The round goby (Neogobius melanostomus) is a nonindigenous species   that became established in the Great Lakes basin in 199 .  It was   first discovered in the St. Clair River (Jude et al. 1992) and has   since spread to all five Great Lakes.  The round goby is implicated   in the decline of the mottled sculpin (Cottus bairdi) and johnny   darter (Etheostoma nigrum) in Lake Michigan.  Additionally, round   goby predation on fish eggs may compromise the recruitment success   of important recreational species.  Thus, round gobies are expected   to have widespread, deleterious effects on native fishes throughout   the Great Lakes basin and are considered one of eight species of   concern in Michigan?s Aquatic Nuisance Species (ANS) Management   Plan.  The goby is just one example of exotic fishes that threaten   our Great Lakes.  Great Lakes wetland habitats (areas with emergent vegetation) appear   to be more resistant to invasion of exotic fishes than other lentic   or lotic habitats.  We conducted preliminary studies in 2  5   addressing the question of whether coastal wetlands serve as refuge   from invasion of exotic fishes in drowned river mouth ecosystems of   eastern Lake Michigan.  These western Michigan systems are unique in   that they transition from a true riverine-habitat to a riverine-  wetland-habitat and finally to a lake?habitat before draining into   Lake Michigan.  For this project, we have expanded our experimental   design to include both drowned river mouths as well as fringing   wetlands of Saginaw Bay and northern Lakes Huron and Michigan.  We   hypothesize that 1.) Great Lakes coastal wetlands serve as refuge   habitats for native fishes against the deleterious impacts of round   gobies and other invasive fishes.  Synchronous sampling with similar   gear in wetland and adjacent lake littoral habitats over a large   geographical area will be conducted to test this hypothesis.   

In progress
Start Date
End Date
Don UzarskiPrincipal Investigator
Associated with 12 projects
Thomas BurtonResearcher
Associated with 10 projects
Carl R. RuetzResearcher
Associated with 3 projects
Matthew CooperResearcher
Associated with 11 projects

Funding 12 projects for a total of $720,629.00
Scope of Study
Field Investigation
Scale of Phenomena
Impact of Pollutants
Exotic Species
Natural Ecological Processes
Land Use and Habitat
Resource Management
Lake Basin Connecting Channels
Lake Huron
Lake Michigan
State Province
Biology And Life History
Environmental Requirements / Tolerance
Control And Mitigation
Physical Measures
Ecosystem Effects
Habitat (physical / chemical)
Socio-economic Consideration and Analysis
Resource Management Issues
Annex Numbers
Research & Development
Annex 17
Impact of water quality and AIS on fish and wildlife populations and habitats
Aquatic Nuisance Species
  • Annex Numbers
    Annex Numbers
    Research & Development
  • Annex 17
    Annex 17
    Impact of water quality and AIS on fish and wildlife populations and habitats

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Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Region.