Bioinvaders - Ponto-Caspian gobies in the High Rhine

The Goby Team (from left to right): Rico Defila, Vanessa Kunz, Philipp Hirsch, Antonietta Di Giulio, Patricia Holm, Irene Adrian-Kalchhauser, Angela Hinel, Anouk N'Guyen

The goby task force

The goby team combines knowledge from different natural sciences backgrounds with skills from economics and the social sciences. We are always looking for committed team members (see Master's thesis). At the moment our team consists of: Prof. Dr. Patricia Holm, Dr. Antonietta Di Giulio, Rico Defila, Dr. Irene Adrian-Kalchhauser, Dr. Philipp Hirsch, Dr. Anouk N'Guyen, Dr. Vanessa Kunz, Roxane Muller, Elisabeth Lutz and Angela Hinel.


For several years now, Ponto-Caspian gobies have been spreading along European waterways, presumably aided by shipping routes. In 2012 the round goby was detected in Basel for the first time while the bighead goby has reached Switzerland shortly beforehand. Both bottom-dwelling fish species are known for their rapid propagation.

We are interested in:

(1) the biology of Ponto-Caspian gobies in local waters (habitat, food web, reproductive behaviour),
(2) population genetics and mechanism of spread (From where have the species been introduced? How do they spread - with help from humans as well as independently?),
(3) ecological and economic consequences of the invasion (What does the invasion mean for native water organisms, for the food web and for interest groups such as fishermen?),
(4) management options in Switzerland (potential solutions for containing the population and avoiting further spread)

>> Detailed description of research questions and approach

Project supported by BAFU, Cantons Basel City, Basel Country, Aargau, Solothurn, Zürich and FoNEW.

Outreach activities

Talk of Anouk N'Guyen on 14.06.2016 at the Informationsveranstaltung für freiwillige Fischereiaufseher (Basle-Country)

Monitoring activities conducted by fishermen support the project by helping us gain more information about the mechanisms of spread. You can help us!

Media coverage:

Basler Zeitung, 23.03.2017 - Invasive Fischart wird im Rhein bekämpft
NZZ, 22.03.2017 - Bundesrat erklärt Schwarzmeergrundel zur invasiven Art
NZZ, 13.03.2017 - Die Grundel lauert bei Rheinfelden
Thurgauer Zeitung, 15.02.2017 - "Gegen invasive Arten ist man chancenlos" (print: Ein gar gefährlich Fischlein)
Aargauer Zeitung, 28.01.2017 - Einheimische Fischarten sind bedroht
SWR, 25.01.2017 - Forschung und Fischer gegen Grundeln
20 Minuten, 27.12.2016 - Gefährlicher Eindringling bedroht Schweizer Fische
SRF, 27.12.2016 - Schwarzmeergrundel: Kann der Laichfresser noch gestoppt werden?, 02.12.2016 - Wissenschaftsapero Schwarzmeergrundeln in der Schweiz
Basellandschaftliche Zeitung, 19.08.2015 - Grundeln verderben Basler Anglern den Spass
FaunaFocus, Gewässerneozoen 17/2015 - Neozoen in Gewässern und ihr Management
Lake Scientist, 12.11.2014 - Ecological Impacts of Invasive Round Goby in the Laurentian Great Lakes and beyond: Summary of Presentations at IAGLR 2014

Media review 2014/15

NZZ, 03.10.2012 - Die Invasion der Schwarzmeergrundeln


neobiota leaflet for boat owners (German)
neobiota leaflet for fishers (German)
Factsheet - Saprolegnia-Methoden-Test an Grundeleiern, deutsch, français
Factsheet - e-DNA
Holm, P., Kalchhauser, I., & Hirsch, P. (2014). Fremde Fische in Flüssen und Seen. Biologie in unserer Zeit, 44(6), 392-399
Results Master thesis Sylvie Flämig - Recreational boating as distribution vector for invasive gobies in Switzerland


Youtube video on round goby in the US
20 Minuten, 16.05.2013 - Invasive Grundeln bedrohen Fische im Rhein

Relevant links:

Verband der Neobiota-Fachleute
Arbeitsgruppe Neobiota

EAWAG Workshop "Aquatische Neozoen"
STDF-Workshop "Invasive Alien Species"
Modell-Schiffbau-Club Basel