MAISRC's commitment to finding innovative solutions to AIS problems
Dear Stakeholders and Friends of the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC),
Unlike in the movies, science is not something that happens overnight. It is an investment that often takes years — even decades — to come to fruition. Finding a control for purple loosestrife took 25 years from initial exploration to implementation. It took over $5 million and 20 years to find and develop a bacteria into the product Zequanox that is just being tried in open water zebra mussel treatments now. And these are examples with positive outcomes; many others run into one or more roadblocks!
This means we must work now, across many fronts, to use innovative science to find solutions to Minnesota’s aquatic invasive species problem. And that’s just what we are doing. MAISRC was founded in 2012, with additional funds awarded in 2013 to conduct specific research projects scoped by the Center’s founder, including detection, prevention, and control efforts on Asian carp, zebra mussels, aquatic plants, and VHSv. Part of these original commitments also included significant investments in education and outreach to translate research findings to the field for implementation.
The first two and a half years of the Center’s existence have been focused on launching these projects, which included hiring two new faculty members as well as research teams ranging from 2 to 11 members in size in order to deliver on these commitments. All of these projects will have begun by year’s end.
Even in our short existence, we have accomplished a lot, including:
- Hiring the state’s first full-time zebra mussel researcher
- Participating in the state’s first open water use of Zequanox and potash to control zebra mussels
- Completing the first field season of zebra mussel sampling to determine their pathways of spread and to develop early detection techniques
- Installing experimental sound deterrents at Lock & Dam 8 to deter Asian carp from moving up our rivers and into our lakes
- Developing an accurate genetic detection method for invasive carps
- Launching studies to improve Eurasian watermilfoil and curly-leaf pondweed treatment options through mechanical, herbicidal, and biocontrol methods
- Screening 33 waterbodies and more than 3,300 fish for VHSv, an aggressive virus affecting game fish
Yet if we are going to have an impact, more research is needed to find solutions to preventing and controlling the top threats to Minnesota’s waters. That is why I spearheaded a process starting last fall — which included input from AIS scientists; local, state, and federal AIS managers; current MAISRC researchers; and the public — to systematically identify the state’s top AIS research priorities. Final recommendations are coming before the Center Advisory Board at its meeting this month.
We look forward to announcing these additional research plans with you soon. Thank you for your support of the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center.
All the best,
Susan Galatowitsch, PhD