University Logo
Google Search

University Slogan - The degree that works
Biological Sciences

Corkum, Lynda D.
B.A., M.A. (Drake), B.Ed. (Windsor), Ph.D. (Toronto)

Aquatic ecology: spatial distributions,
animal behaviour, and exotic species.

Contact Information
Office Location: Biology Building - 19
Tel: (519) 253-3000 ext. 2717
Fax: (519) 971-3609

Research Outline

My students and I study the ecology of the bottom-dwelling exotic Great Lakes fish, the round goby, Neogobius melanostomus. Our research suggests that Neogobius, an aggressive multiple spawner, is a threat to native fish species. The round goby eats the eggs and fry of native species, resulting in a decline in the recruitment of native fishes. The parent male round goby maintains and guards a nest into which many females deposits eggs. The chemical communication between male and female round gobies is crucial in controlling their reproductive habits. In partnership with colleagues Dr. Barbara Zielinski (University of Windsor), Dr. Weiming Li (Michigan State University), and Dr. A.P. Scott (Centre for Enivironment, Fisheries and Aquaculture Science, Weymouth, UK), we are characterizing the structure and function of a sex pheromone that guides female round gobies to nests with parental males. The outcome of our proposed research will eventually lead to a selective and benign control of the round goby.

Two parental males fighting over an exposed round goby nest
Wickett & Corkum 1998 Fisheries 23:26-27

In collaboration with Dr. Nick Mandrak (Fisheries and Oceans Canada), and graduate student, Nick Lapointe, we are studying fish-habitat associations in shallow waters (< 3 m) of the Detroit River. The protocol involves a detailed description of habitat using underwater videography and sediment grab samples. After testing a variety of fish sampling gear in 2003, we are now using boat seines and boat electrofishing to capture fishes in near and offshore waters in spring, summer and autumn. We want to quantify critical habitat for fish species of risk and fish assemblages in the Detroit River.

In addition to my research interests in fish behaviour and ecology, I have studied spatial distributions of aquatic invertebrates. My research goal has been to develop explanatory models that predict invertebrate community organization in rivers at scales that are applicable across broad environmental and geographic gradients. One of my research areas focuses on predicting invertebrate assemblages in rivers using features of the landscape. I have developed empirical models that predict the spatial distribution of riverine invertebrates in drainages that occur in three terrestrial biomes, the Eastern Deciduous Forest (EDF), the Grasslands, and the Montane Coniferous Forests. I have studied whether or not aquatic invertebrate assemblages that characterize designated land use areas within the EDF can be reset to reflect presettlement (i.e., forested) conditions rather than the enriched riverine communities in agricultural areas. My graduate students and I have used both hydrological regime and riparian vegetation to predict the spatial distribution and morphological adaptations to flow of freshwater clams (Unionidae) in drainage basins of EDF.

Another research interest focuses on using adult aerial insects (e.g., Hexagenia mayflies) to monitor exposure of organisms to organochlorines and metals in aquatic habitats. We have examined maternal effects of Hexagenia species on the subsequent size and survivorship of larvae. Benthic invertebrates serve as a link in energy transfer between the primary producers and consumers in aquatic habitats. Hexagenia, which were virtually eliminated from the western basin of Lake Erie, have since returned owing to decreased levels of productivity, increased transparency and a corresponding increase in oxygen concentrations. During this transition period, there have been concomitant changes in contaminant dynamics in the lake.

A more recent interest in mayfly research focuses on predicting when mass emergence of the adults occurs. Over the past 10 years, mass emergence at Colchester Harbour (northwest Lake Erie) has occurred anywhere within a four week period in June and July, but adult mayflies can be seen flying from late May until late July. Stragglers are seen until October. Although degree days can be used to predict when Hexagenia emergence begins, we want to determine which abiotic factors best forecast mass emergence, i.e., the short time interval within the expanded emergence period during which most adults swarm. Water temperature and wind speed are key factors.

Potential Projects for New Students
  • sexual selection and territoriality in round gobies;
  • pheromonal communication between male and female round gobies;
  • habitat use and dispersal by round gobies;
  • life history plasticity in mayflies;
  • modelling spatial distribution of Hexagenia in Lake Erie.

See the web site for the Round Goby Count Program:

Selected Publications

Corkum, L.D. 2004.
Pheromone signalling in conservation.
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 14:327-331.
AQCONS14_ 327-331.pdf

Corkum, L.D., M.R. Sapota, & K.E. Skora. 2004
The round goby, Neogobius melanostomus, a fish invader on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean.
Biological Invasions 6:173-181
Biological Invasions 2004.pdf

Corkum, L.D. & D.J. Cronin. 2004.
Habitat complexity reduces aggression and enhances
consumption in crayfish.
J. Ethology 22:23-27.
J Ethol.pdf

Zielinski, B., W. Arbuckle, A.Belanger, L.D. Corkum, W. Li, & A.P. Scott. 2003. Evidence for the release of sex pheromones by male round gobies, Neogobius melanostomus.
Fish Physiology and Biochemistry28:237-239.
Fish Physiology & Biochemistry 2003.pdf

Belanger, R.M. & L.D. Corkum. 2003.
Susceptibility of tethered round gobies (Neogobius melanstomus) to predation in habitats with and without shelters.
J. Great Lakes Res 29: 588-593.

Plant, W., J.J.H. Ciborowski, & L.D. Corkum. 2003
Do tube-swelling midges inhibit the establishment of burrowing mayflies?
J. Great Lakes Res 29: 521-528.

Belanger, R.M, C.M. Smith, L.D. Corkum, & B. Zielinski. 2003
Morphology and histochemistry of the peripheral olfactory
organ in the round goby, Neogobius melanostomus (Teleostei:Gobiidae).
J. Morphology 257:62-71.


Corkum, L.D. 2002.
Discrimination among fish models by Hawaiian Eleotris
sandwicensis (Eleotridae).
Biotropica 34:584-588.

Biotropica Full Article.pdf

Belanger, R.M, L.D. Corkum, & B. Zielinski. 2002
The spatial organization of the peripheral olfactory organ
in the round goby (Neogobius melanostomus).
Oceanologial Studies 31:23-29.

Charlebois, P.M., L.D. Corkum, D.J. Jude, & C. Knight. 2001.
The round goby invasion: current research and future needs.
J. Great Lakes Res. 27:263-266.

Ray, W.J. & L.D. Corkum 2001.
Habitat and site affinity of the round goby.
J. Great Lakes Res. 27:329-334.

Murphy, C.A., N.E. Stacey & L.D. Corkum. 2001.
Putative steroidal pheromones in the round goby, Neogobius melanostomus: olfactory and behavioural responses.
Journal of Chemical Ecology 27:443-470.
J Chem Ecol.pdf

Schloesser, D.W., K.A. Krieger, J.J.H. Ciborowski, & L.D. Corkum. 2001. Recovery of burrowing mayflies (Ephemeroptera; Ephemeridae: Hexagenia spp.) in Lake Erie of the Laurentian Great Lakes.
J. Aquatic Ecosystem Stresss & Recovery 8:125-141.

MacInnis, A.J. & L.D. Corkum. 2000.
Age and growth of round goby Neogobius melanostomus in the upper Detroit River.
Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 129:852-858.

MacInnis, A.J. & L.D. Corkum. 2000.
Fecundity and reproductive season of the exotic Great Lakes fish, Neogobius melanostomus Perciformes: Gobiidae).
Trans. Amer. Fish. Soc. 129:136-144.

Corkum, L.D. 1999.
Conservation of running waters: beyond riparian vegetation and species richness.
Aquatic Conservation: Marine and Freshwater Ecosystems 9: 559-564.

Morris, T.J. & L.D. Corkum. 1999.
Unionid growth patterns in relation to riparian land use.
Freshwater Biology 42:59-68.

Dobrin, M. & L.D. Corkum. 1999.
Can fluctuating asymmetry in adult burrowing mayflies (Hexagenia rigida, Ephemeroptera) be used as a measure of contaminant stress?
J. Great Lakes Res. 25:339-346.

Wickett, R.G. & L.D. Corkum 1998.
You've got to get wet: a case study of the exotic Great Lakes fish, round goby (Neogobius melanostomus).
Fisheries 23:26-27.

Wickett, R.G. & L.D. Corkum. 1998.
Nest defense by the exotic fish, round goby, Neogobius melanostomus (Gobiidae), on a shipwreck in western Lake Erie.
Canadian Field-Naturalist 122:245-249..

Corkum, L.D., MacInnis, A.J. & R.G. Wickett. 1998.
Reproductive habits of round gobies.
Great Lakes Research Review 3:13-20.

Corkum, L.D., J.J. H. Ciborowski, & R. Lazar. 1997.
The recovery of Hexagenia, the burrowing mayfly, in Lake Erie and an analysis of contaminants in adults.
J. Great Lakes Res. 23:383- 390.

Corkum, L.D., J.J.H. Ciborowski & R. Poulin. 1997.
Effects of maternal size on egg development and sizes of eggs and first instar nymphs of Hexagenia limbata (Ephemeroptera).
Oecologia 111:69-75.

Ray. W. & L.D. Corkum. 1997.
Predation effects on zebra mussels by the round goby.
Environmental Biology of Fishes 50:267-273.

Corkum, L.D. 1996.
Responses of chlorophyll a, organic matter, and macro-invertebrates to nutrient additions in rivers flowing through agricultural and forested land.
Arch. Hydrobiol. 130: 391-411.

Di Maio, J. & L.D. Corkum. 1996.
The orientation of unionids in rivers as a function of the hydrological variability.
J. Molluscan Studies 63:565-573.

Corkum, L.D. 1996.
Patterns of nutrient release from nutrient diffusing substrates in flowing water. Hydrobiologia 333:37-43.

Morris, T.J. & L.D. Corkum. 1996.
Spatial patterns of freshwater mussels in rivers of grassy and forested riparian zones.
Journal of the North American Benthological Society 15:576-586.

Kovats, Z.E., J.J.H. Ciborowski & L.D. Corkum. 1996.
Inland dispersal by adult aquatic insects.
Freshwater Biology 36:265-276.

Dubs, D.O.L. & L.D. Corkum. 1996.
Behavioural interactions between round gobies (Neogobius melanostomus) and mottled sculpins (Cottus bairdi).
J. Great Lakes Res. 22:838-844.

Lynda Corkum is an active member of the Behaviour, Cognition and Neuroscience Program
at the University of Windsor.

Editorial Board Member: