2009 S3: Elizabeth LaRue

Population structure of the invasive round goby in Lake Michigan

The recent establishment of the round goby (Neogobius melanostomus), an invasive fish in Lake Michigan, provides a unique opportunity to view fine scale evolutionary processes, such as gene flow, that can create genetic structure within a population. We captured 1,388 round gobies by angling and minnow traps from 12 sites that span the entire shoreline of Lake Michigan. The number of round gobies captured at a site ranged from 20 to 451 individuals. Caudal fin clips were collected from 20-52 fish at each site for genetic analysis. Additionally, total length, weight, and sex were recorded from 20-74 fish from each site. Significant differences were found between pairwise comparisons of mean weight and catch per unit effort at each site. We are currently extracting genomic DNA from round goby tissue samples and eight nuclear microsatellite loci are being amplified by polymerase chain reaction. We will use this genetic data to determine whether: 1) there are significant patterns of genetic population structure among sites along the shore of Lake Michigan (e.g., a correlation between genetic diversity and geographic distance), 2) and patterns of population structure in Lake Michigan are stable, developing, or degrading, 3) whether common shipping and ferry routes create strong deviations from normal population structure observed to occur around the lakeshore.

Faculty Mentors: Carl Ruetz III and Ryan A. Thum, Annis Water Resources Institute


Elizabeth presented at the 2010 Annual Meeting of the Michigan American Fisheries Society February 24-25, 2010 in Grayling, MI.

Elizabeth presented at the 70th Midwest Fish and Wildlife Conference December 5-9. 2010 in Springfield, IL.


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