Marine Biodiversity

, Volume 49, Issue 2, pp 795–807 | Cite as

Feeding ecology, growth and reproductive biology of round goby Neogobius melanostomus (Pallas, 1814) in the brackish Kiel Canal

  • Mattias HempelEmail author
  • Victoria Magath
  • Rüdiger Neukamm
  • Ralf Thiel
Original Paper


We studied diet, growth and reproductive biology of round goby Neogobius melanostomus from the Kiel Canal, northern Germany, to give an insight into the life cycle of this species in a brackish water canal. Crustaceans had the highest importance in the diet of all examined size classes of round goby. Other major food taxa were annelids and chironomids. Mussels and fish were consumed almost exclusively by medium- and large-sized N. melanostomus and contributed to the diet to a minor extent. In addition to the variability between size classes, we found a high interannual variability in the prey species. Round goby in the Kiel Canal was characterised by relatively low asymptotic total length and high relative fecundity. An almost balanced sex ratio indicates the established status of the population. The highest spawning activity took place between May and the end of June. From our data, negative effects of round goby on native species due to competition for prey and habitat are more likely than due to direct predation on eggs or fry. Affected species with similar habitat requirements are for example small gobiids from the genus Pomatoschistus. As round goby occurs in high abundance, substantial changes of the Kiel Canal ecosystem seem possible and likely.


Gobiidae Invasive species Diet analyses Fecundity Sex ratio 



We thank the fishermen Hans Brauer, Matthias Pfalzgraf and Thomas Philipson, as well as Marius Danielo Behrens for teamwork at the study site. Thanks to Björn Kullmann for his help in the laboratory. Thanks to Simon Weigmann, the anonymous reviewer and the handling editor for their constructive recommendations on an earlier version of the manuscript. This study was the result of a cooperation between the University of Hamburg and the State Agency for Agriculture, Environment and Rural Areas, Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.

Funding information

It was partially funded by the fisheries tax of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany.

Compliance with ethical standards

Conflict of interest

The authors declare that they have no conflict of interest.

Ethical approval

All applicable international, national and/or institutional guidelines for the care and use of animals were followed by the authors.

Sampling and field studies

All necessary permits for sampling and observational field studies have been obtained by the authors from the competent authorities and are mentioned in the acknowledgements, if applicable.


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Copyright information

© Senckenberg Gesellschaft für Naturforschung and Springer-Verlag GmbH Germany, part of Springer Nature 2018

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Centre of Natural History, Zoological MuseumUniversity of HamburgHamburgGermany
  2. 2.Landessportfischerverband Schleswig-Holstein e.VKielGermany

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