Request for Research Proposals
The Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC), University of Minnesota, is seeking proposals for research studies to advance control and management, prevention of establishment and spread, risk assessment and early detection of AIS in Minnesota.
MAISRC plans to fund approximately 3-5 projects, not to exceed $900,000 in total, in this competition targeting high priority research needs that have not yet received prior center support. MAISRC conducted a systematic needs assessment in 2016 that included AIS managers, researchers, and the public, to identify and prioritize research related to protecting Minnesota from aquatic invasive species impacting or likely to impact the state. This RFP is focused on twenty four research priorities that were identified in this process and that have not otherwise been funded (see below).
Proposals are invited from investigators at any Minnesota-based academic or governmental research institution for work that proposes to build capacity in and benefit Minnesota. Researchers who have not previously been supported by MAISRC are especially encouraged to submit proposals. Research collaborations and multi-investigator projects are also strongly encouraged. Research teams may include expertise outside of Minnesota if needed. Note: some restrictions apply for use of grant funds out of state.
Projects are expected to use state-of-the-art techniques and approaches and must produce both peer-reviewed publications in high quality journals as well as technical publications. Resources within the newly renovated MAISRC Containment Lab may be available for use in association with funded projects. Anticipated funding availability is Summer 2017 through June 30, 2019.
Pre-proposal instructions and selection process
The funds to support the research solicited in this announcement primarily originate from the Environment and Natural Resource Trust Fund (ENRTF), administered by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR). Therefore the pre-proposal application is similar to and eligible expenses are the same as LCCMR’s.
Pre-proposals will be reviewed by a committee consisting of MAISRC’s scientific director, two members of MAISRC’s Advisory Board, and two technical reviewers. Evaluation will be based on degree the pre-proposal fits research priorities, likelihood the research project will result in important new information useful for solving AIS problems in Minnesota, and demonstrated capacity of the collaboration to perform the proposed research. Demonstrated support from end users of the research and ability to leverage additional funding will also be considered.
Investigators invited to submit full proposals will provide detailed research plans that will undergo scientific peer-review. Funding is available upon final approval of an ENRTF workplan and budget by MAISRC & LCCMR.
***For UMN proposals: Please do not submit through SPA. We recommend, however, that you discuss your pre-proposal with your finance team, department head, and others who would eventually need to approve your proposal so that we can avoid problems down the road if you are invited to submit a full proposal.***
The deadline for pre-proposals is February 3, 2017 (4:30 PM).
- Cover Sheet (1 page limit; click for template)
- Pre-proposal Narrative (3 page limit; click for template)
- Project Budget (please submit in MS Excel Format; click for template)
- Researcher Qualifications (please provide a CV for all primary investigators; 2 page limit each)
- Project Manager’s Organization Description (1 page limit)
- Optional Attachments (letters of support)
Please submit electronically to Becca Nash, MAISRC Associate Director, email@example.com, 612.624.7785. Feel free to call or write with questions about the research priorities or proposal process.
Proposals for research on the following topics will be considered for funding. Like AIS problems in general, these problems are complex. To be effectively addressed, many of these topics will benefit from innovative research approaches, research scope spanning fundamental and applied, and/or multidisciplinary expertise. The topics are not listed in priority order. If not specifically addressed below, the species studied must be included on the MAISRC 2016 species priority list. Research not focused on addressing one of the following priorities will not be considered for funding.
A. Preventing establishment and spread of key AIS
- Characterize and assess the risk of water-users not currently captured through the watercraft inspection programs (i.e. resort access, non-transient boat movement) and from private equipment sales (i.e. docks and boat lifts) to prioritize zebra mussel prevention education, inspection, and enforcement efforts.
- Determine zebra mussel veliger survivability in natural and experimental conditions to estimate the risk of viable introduction via vectors such as residual boat water.
- Using insights from predictive/empirical pathways and movement modeling, develop a decision making tool to optimize locations for inspection, education, enforcement and decontamination on a local, regional and statewide scale.
- Assess highest risk vector(s) of spread of spiny waterflea by recreational activity. Determine and evaluate the most effective decontamination protocol to minimize its spread.
- Survey pathogen presence and prevalence in wild and farm-raised baitfish and evaluate the risk of spread to native fish.
- Describe and quantify the live fish trade in Minnesota, including the aquarium industry, live food markets, water gardens, educational supplies, and online trade, to determine the relative risk and pathways for new invasive species introduction.
- Complete a risk assessment for all watersheds in Minnesota for redswamp crayfish, Didymosphenia aeminata, or Bigheaded carps. This should include analyses of invaded and native ranges to determine key biotic, abiotic, and hydrologic variables that drive invasion success or lack thereof and consider current and future climate scenarios.
B. Control of priority species: creating and improving options
- Develop a multi-tiered screening program (lab, mesocosm, field) to evaluate options for starry stonewort control.
- Evaluate the use of herbicides to control isolated patches of Eurasian watermilfoil and Curly-leaf pondweed in the early spring or late fall to minimize the impact on native species.
- Evaluate the potential to enhance native plant recovery after management actions (carp, alum, herbicide) focusing on natural plant recruitment and/or active re-vegetation strategies with an emphasis on submersed vegetation.
- Develop an evidence-based system for grouping AIS infested lakes using physical, chemical, and biological characteristics to guide adaptive management.
- Develop and assess the efficacy of existing genetic biocontrol technologies in a laboratory population of MAISRC priority invasive fish species.
C. Understanding impacts in order to prioritize management actions
- Evaluate the economic impact of AIS introductions (e.g. starry stonewort, zebra mussel, or Eurasian watermilfoil) on property values, business and tourism over time to inform management decision making.
- Evaluate the economic impact of AIS establishment (e.g. common carp, Eurasian watermilfoil and curlyleaf pondweed) on ecosystem services to inform management decisions.
- Use mesocosms to determine biological or physical factors that contribute to the establishment and invasiveness of starry stonewort to inform management.
- Evaluate the immediate and long-term non-target impacts of copper-based pesticides and potassium chloride used for AIS (e.g. zebra mussels, starry stonewort) control on plant, animal, and human health.
- Determine impact of spiny waterflea and zebra mussels individually, and together, on food webs in invaded lakes in Minnesota from fish (up food chain) to zooplankton, phytoplankton and nutrient dynamics (down food chain).
- Determine the long-term population dynamics of established hybrid watermilfoil with Eurasian watermilfoil populations in lakes in relation to variations in environmental conditions and native plants.
- Use mesocosms to evaluate seasonality and environmental conditions that affect curly-leaf pondweed annual growth rates, reproduction, surface matted growth, die-back, and turion production and viability.
- Determine the current distribution of European haplotype common reed in Minnesota, likelihood of spread in current and future climate conditions and potential to impair ecological functions and services.
D. Early detection of new AIS threats
- Develop cost effective and rapid methods for the detection of toxin-producing cyanobacteria outbreaks in Minnesota lakes.
- Validate and optimize diagnostic methods for Heterosporis sutherlandae at varying stages of infection in fish samples.
- Develop technology and protocols to detect and monitor incipient fish invasions (i.e. black carp, snakehead) effectively and efficiently, in the Upper Mississippi River and its major tributaries.
- Develop and evaluate the best methods for quantitative surveys of low-density, early infestations of zebra mussels and spiny waterflea.