A comparative analysis of coastal wetland fishes using physiological and environmental indicators

Renee E Renauer, Peter Dijkstra

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterpeer-review

Abstract

Fish of the Laurentian Great Lakes coastal wetlands are adapted to handle a variety of stressors, from thick ice cover to nighttime hypoxia. These coastal wetlands are essential spawning and nursery habitats for native fishes. Unfortunately, invasive species are marking this prime territory as well. The round goby, <i>Neogobius melanostomus</i>, is an invasive fish that was introduced to the Great Lakes in 1990. Some studies have found that many coastal wetland habitats are resistant to round goby invasion. It has been hypothesized that high-productivity negatively affects round goby density in wetlands because high habitat productivity increases diurnal fluctuation in dissolved oxygen and pH. However, round gobies have been found in and around wetlands in low densities. Given the increased threat to the integrity of many coastal wetland areas, it is critical to evaluate how wetland characteristics influence the potential impact of round gobies on native fish species. Environmental stressors can cause oxidative stress because of an excess of reactive oxygen species relative to antioxidants. High levels of oxidative stress can cause cellular damage, negatively affecting an organism’s reproductive potential, survival and competitive ability. To test whether round gobies are more negatively affected by high habitat productivity compared to native fish species, we collected tissue from round goby, brown bullhead, and yellow perch in a variety of wetlands with a range of productivity levels. We found that antioxidant capacity was higher in round gobies compared to native species, in contrast to expectation. This could indicate a higher tolerance to environmental stressors in gobies compared to the bullhead and yellow perch. DNA damage did not differ between species. However, both antioxidant capacity and DNA damage varied significantly within species across wetland sites. [PD1] Future analyses will examine whether wetland habitat characteristics, such as productivity levels, explain some of this across site variation in markers of oxidative stress. We want coastal wetland managers to be able to utilize this information to prioritize sites for protection of native species and implementing strategies to mitigate the impact of round gobies on coastal wetlands and their resident fish populations.<br>
Original languageEnglish
StatePublished - Mar 13 2020
EventThe 2020 Annual Meeting of the Michigan Chapter of the American Fisheries Society - Mt. Pleasant, MI
Duration: Mar 13 2020Mar 13 2020

Conference

ConferenceThe 2020 Annual Meeting of the Michigan Chapter of the American Fisheries Society
Period03/13/2003/13/20

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