invasive fishes

MAISRC focuses its research efforts on species that have been prioritized based on their proximity to Minnesota, pathway of spread, and impact. This list of high risk/high priority species is updated annually with the help of a 9-member inter-organizational Technical Committee (MTC) and with input from the Center’s Advisory Board and the Center’s faculty members.

Active research is underway at MAISRC on many of these species. We will expand our research to additional priority species as funding and partnership opportunities become available.


MAISRC high-priority species:


Widespread in Minnesota and known to have high impact:

  • Common carp/Koi (Cyprinus carpio)

Localized in Minnesota, spreading, and known to have high impact elsewhere:

  • Bighead carp (Hypophthalmichthys nobilis)
  • Grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella)
  • Silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix)
  • Rainbow smelt (Osmerus mordax)
  • Round goby (Neogobius melanostomus)
  • Ruffe (Gymnocephalus cernua)

Not present in Minnesota but presumed high-risk to occur here and have high impact:

  • Black carp (Mylopharyngodon piceus)
  • Northern snakehead (Channa argus)
  • Zander (Sander lucioperca)

Species currently being researched at MAISRC:

Asian carps (Bighead, Silver, and Grass)

Silver, bighead, and grass carps are all invasive fishes referred to as "Asian carp." They threaten to become established in Minnesota, where ~30 silver and bighead carp combined have been caught between 1996 and 2015. Asian carps pose threats to aquatic vegetation, food webs, commercial and recreational fishing, and silver carp pose additional threats to human health due to their propensity to leap out of the water when disturbed.

Current research at MAISRC focuses on detection using optimized eDNA and microbial techniques, prevention using enhanced bubble curtains and modifications to locks and dams, control using Judas fish techniques and attractants, possible eradication using native pathogens, and risk analysis. Learn more . . .

bighead carp

Common carp

Common carp are one of the world’s most widely introduced and invasive species of fish. Currently, they dominate the fish biomass of many shallow lakes, rivers, and wetlands in North America and around the world, including many lakes in central and southern Minnesota. Carp degrade water quality and destroy waterfowl habitat by rooting in the lake bottom while searching for food.


Current research at MAISRC focuses on developing toxin-delivery systems and testing the limits of common carp biocontrol in hypereutrophic lakes; determining abundance, seasonal movements, and recruitment patterns; and developing eDNA and microbial techniques for detection of multiple carp species. Learn more . . .

common carp