, Volume 807, Issue 1, pp 263–275 | Cite as

Long-term monitoring of native bullhead and invasive gobiids in the Danubian rip-rap zone

  • Michal Janáč
  • Kevin Roche
  • Luděk Šlapanský
  • Matej Polačik
  • Pavel Jurajda
Primary Research Paper


As invaders of European and North American aquatic systems, Ponto–Caspian gobiids are believed to represent a significant negative threat to native fish assemblages and cottid species in particular. To date, relatively few studies have tried to document actual impacts, most being short-term and/or laboratory based. Here, we examine 8 years (2008–2015) of electrofishing data from a 1200-m stretch of rip-rap along the Austrian Danube, initiated following establishment of four non-native gobiids: tubenose goby Proterorhinus semilunaris, bighead goby Ponticola kessleri, racer goby Babka gymnotrachelus and round goby Neogobius melanostomus. While we registered 26 fish species in total, most native species were caught along the rip-rap only occasionally. Only native bullhead Cottus gobio and the four non-native gobiids were caught regularly. Although cottids are presently believed to be most vulnerable to gobiid invasion, we observed no negative trend in bullhead abundance over the 8-year dataset, the population remaining stable and at similar abundances to gobiids. While we observed no significant trend in round, racer or tubenose goby abundance, bighead goby showed a continuous decline. Our data contradict previous reports of drastic impacts on cottid abundance by gobiids (mainly round goby), suggesting potential region-specific effects following invasion.


Competition Fish population structure Invasive species impact Ponto–Caspian gobies River bank stabilisation 



We are much indebted to the representatives and volunteers of the Donau-Auen National Park (especially Dr. C. Baumgartner) for allowing us to survey in the park and for all their help on the Austrian side. We would also like to thank all colleagues at our institute who helped with fieldwork over the years and Prof. H. Keckeis for his help in 2005. Thanks also go to via donau-Österreichische Wasserstraßen-Gesellschaft mbH (Austrian Waterways Company mbH—Via Donau), especially Mr. Wolfgang Kobath and Mrs. Ursula Scheiblechner, for providing data on water discharge. This study was supported through Czech Science Foundation (GA CR) Grant No. P505/12/G112: ECIP. The authors have no conflicts of interest to declare.

Supplementary material

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Supplementary material 1 (PDF 228 kb)


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Copyright information

© Springer International Publishing AG 2017

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Institute of Vertebrate BiologyCzech Academy of SciencesBrnoCzech Republic

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