Round Goby fish invades Great Lakes, endangers native species

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Washington, August 12 (ANI): A team of scientists from Canada has uncovered alarming invasion of the round goby fish into Great Lakes tributaries, which is likely to make an adverse impact on endangered fishes in the region.

The team, from the University of Toronto (U of T), the Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources and the University of Guelph has identified a drastic invasion of round goby into many Great Lakes tributaries, including several areas of the Thames, Sydenham, Ausable and Grand Rivers.

A number of the affected areas are known as "species-at-risk" hot spots.

"This invasion poses many potential threats for native species of fish and mussels," said Mark Poos, a PhD Candidate in U of T's Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology.

Up to 89 per cent of fish species and 17 per cent of mussel species are either known or suspected to be affected by the goby invasion.

Of particular concern is the impact on species that have a conservation designation, including such endangered species as the small eastern sand darter fish and mussels such as the wavy rayed lampmussel.

The Great Lakes and its tributaries are Canada's most diverse aquatic ecosystems, but are also the most fragile, according to Poos.

Several of these rivers hold species found nowhere else in Canada, including 11 endangered species and two threatened species.

Furthermore, the round goby, an aggressive ground-feeder, is a threat to three globally rare species: the rayed bean, northern riffleshell and snuffbox mussels. (ANI)

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