Controlling gobies topic of Science Café

“Can love potions be used to control an invasive fish?” is the title of the next Science Café at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday, March 21, at Canada South Science City. Biologist and author Lynda Corkum will describe her research efforts to control round goby and keep it from destroying native fish populations in the Great Lakes.

The success of the invasive fish, the round goby (Neogobius melanostomus), in the Great Lakes may be due to its sexual communication between males and females during reproduction. Dr. Corkum and her team hypothesize that reproductive males release pheromones (“love potions”) into the water that attract females to nests.

Lynda Corkum

Lynda Corkum.

Lab experiments show that reproductive females exposed to male washings spend more time near the odour source and swim directly to odours when compared with responses to control water. Males breed in colonies. Each male occupies a nest and uses its tail to pump water out of the nest to attract females. Up to 15 females deposit eggs into a single nest that is guarded and maintained by the male. Round gobies feed on the eggs of native fishes. By using traps with synthesized sex odours, female round gobies could be removed from sites where the fish would otherwise feed on eggs of native species.

Corkum is a professor of biological sciences at the University of Windsor. Her research interests include the ecology and behaviour of fishes and aquatic insects. She has written a field guide, Fishes of Essex County and Surrounding Water, which includes a detailed account of fishes in Lake St. Clair, the Detroit River and Lake Erie.

As usual at Science Cafés, light refreshments will be served and there is no admission charge. The evening is part of a series of Science Cafés – free discussions of important science research for the general public – sponsored by the Faculty of Science. Canada South Science City is located at 930 Marion Avenue.