Bournemouth University

School of Conservation Sciences

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BU leads research on invasive fish

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Gudgeon Research grants help complement work so far  

Researchers in the Centre for Conservation Ecology & Environmental Change have just been awarded two small research grants to complement their existing work on the topmouth gudgeon, a non-native, invasive fish species (pictured below).

Topmouth Gudeon

*Topmouth gudgeon: male (top) and female (bottom).

Originating from South-East Asia, this invading fish rarely exceed lengths of 8 cm and reproduces several times a year with the male guarding a nest. This reproductive strategy enables topmouth gudgeon to quickly become a pest in affected waters as they form extremely abundant populations. Following their import into the UK in the ornamental fish trade in the 1980s, they have since escaped into the wild where populations have established. This is concerning, for they are also a health host of a novel disease that may affect native fishes of commercial importance.

Topmouth Gudgeon

* A net of topmouth gudgeon from an affected lake in England; after only being present in the lake for 2 years, they comprised 98 % of the fish population by number.

Drs. Rob Britton and Rudy Gozlan have been researching the many aspects of their invasion in UK waters and the recent awards will allow their research to investigate how their invasion affects the food-web and trophic ecology of invaded lakes, and to analyse their genetic profile across their native and European range. This information will be extremely important in understanding their ecology and so is important for providing advice to policy makers managing their invasion.