Environmental Biology of Fishes

, Volume 99, Issue 10, pp 793–799 | Cite as

The role of substrate holding in achieving critical swimming speeds: a case study using the invasive round goby (Neogobius melanostomus)

  • Matthew J. H. Gilbert
  • Janelle M. Barbarich
  • Matthew Casselman
  • Ashley V. Kasurak
  • Dennis M. Higgs
  • Keith B. TierneyEmail author


The swimming performance of fishes has generally been assessed using a stepped velocity test where the speed at fatigue is considered the critical swimming performance (U crit). Although this test was designed for fishes that swim in the water column, it has been applied to fishes that adhere to the substrate. Here we examined the extent to which substrate holding, slipping and swimming contributed to reaching U crit in an example substrate holding fish, the invasive round goby. A linear model indicated that each behavior contributed significantly to U crit, but that substrate holding was by far the biggest contributor (65.8 ± 3.9 % vs. 5.8 ± 0.9 and 28.4 ± 3.4 % slipping and swimming). We also used our behavioural analysis to determine the critical substrate holding speed (U hold: 28.6 ± 1.1 cm s−1). We conclude that the U crit test can be applied to substrate holding fish but that it is not just an indication of critical swimming speed as is often considered and must be interpreted with caution.


Swimming performance Ucrit Substrate holding Gobiidae 



We thank Marc St. Pierre of the University of Windsor Science Technical shop for his outstanding craftsmanship of the swim tunnel respirometer. This study was funded by NSERC grants to KBT and DMH.


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  • Matthew J. H. Gilbert
    • 1
  • Janelle M. Barbarich
    • 1
  • Matthew Casselman
    • 2
  • Ashley V. Kasurak
    • 3
  • Dennis M. Higgs
    • 3
  • Keith B. Tierney
    • 1
    Email author
  1. 1.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of AlbertaEdmontonCanada
  2. 2.Department of Land and Food SystemsUniversity of British ColumbiaVancouverCanada
  3. 3.Department of Biological SciencesUniversity of WindsorWindsorCanada

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