MAISRC Showcase

2020 MAISRC Showcase Presenters

AbbasDr. Abdennour Abbas

Abdennour Abbas is an Associate Professor of Bionanotechnology in the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering. He is also the Founder and Chief Technology Officer of Claros Technologies Inc., an advanced materials company. His research laboratory focuses on developing new rapid diagnostic technologies for food safety, agriculture and environmental applications including invasive species detection. He is working on a project with the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center to develop a new platform for eDNA collection and concentration to enable more accurate evaluation of the presence and abundance of aquatic invasive species.

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Jonah BaconJonah Bacon

Jonah Bacon is a senior undergraduate student, majoring in Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior and minoring in Marine Biology. He has been involved in invasive plant research with Dr. Daniel Larkin and his graduate student Mike Verhoeven since May 2019. His research interests include native and invasive plant competition, especially ways to tilt the competitive advantage of community establishment towards native plants. Jonah is also interested in other areas of freshwater ecology and is considering graduate school after graduation.

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Przemek BajerDr. Przemek Bajer

Przemek Bajer is a Research Assistant Professor at the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center. He works on developing sustainable control solutions for the common carp. Most recently, he has been working on exploiting carp's social behaviors to train these fish to aggregate around bait and remove them in large numbers. He is currently also working on using the Whooshh System to remove carp from streams during spawning migrations. In addition to leading several research projects, he is the founder and owner of Carp Solutions LLC, a University of Minnesota startup company that works with local governments and citizens to help them manage their carp populations. When he's not chasing carp, he loves to fly fish for trout and steelhead.

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Valerie BradyDr. Valerie Brady

Valerie Brady is a Senior Research Program Manager at the University of Minnesota Duluth’s Natural Resources Research Institute. She works on using aquatic invertebrates and fish to indicate the condition of aquatic ecosystems, as well as investigating effects of AIS on aquatic ecosystems. Her research with the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center focuses on an evaluation of the risk of dispersal of spiny water flea by angling equipment. Among other projects, she coordinates the Great Lakes Coastal Wetland Monitoring Program for USEPA GLNPO and teaches Wetlands Ecology.

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Naomi BlinickNaomi Blinick

Naomi Blinick is a graduate student in the Conservation Sciences program at the University of Minnesota, in the Fisheries and Aquatic Biology track. She has a bachelor's degree in marine studies from Prescott College in Arizona, and has spent a decade working as a field biologist in various marine, coastal, island, and freshwater ecosystems. She is now investigating the effects of zebra mussels on the success of walleye in Minnesota lakes as a member of Dr. Gretchen Hansen’s lab.

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Donn BranstratorDr. Donn Branstrator

Donn Branstrator is a Professor of Biology at the University of Minnesota Duluth with a focus on limnology and freshwater zooplankton. His research with the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center focuses on the impacts and colonization history of spiny water flea in Lake Mille Lacs and Lake Kabetogama, as well as an evaluation of the risk of dispersal of spiny water flea by boating equipment. He teaches courses in general ecology, lake ecology, and ethics in science, and he co-directs the Water Resources Science Graduate Program at the University of Minnesota.

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Angelique DahlbergAngelique Dahlberg

Angelique is a graduate student in the Phelps lab at the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center working towards a Ph.D. in Conservation Sciences. She received an M.S. in Integrated BioSciences from the University of Minnesota Duluth and a B.S. in Biological Aspects of Conservation from the University of Wisconsin Madison. Angelique also spent five years working for regional non-profits to manage and mitigate the impacts of invasive species. Angelique's current research investigates suppression methods for controlling zebra mussel populations in Minnesota lakes.

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Meg DuhrMeg Duhr

Meg Duhr is MAISRC's Research Outreach Specialist where she works to translate research into action by serving as a bridge between MAISRC research and AIS managers, policymakers, and other stakeholders. Since 2009, Meg worked as a manager and biologist for the US Fish and Wildlife Service, where she coordinated habitat restoration and invasive species control projects on National Wildlife Refuges in the Remote Pacific Islands and the Inland Northwest. She has a B.A. in Women’s and Gender Studies from Macalester College and a B.S. in Wildlife Science from Oregon State University.

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Sam EricksonSam Erickson

Sam Erickson is a graduate student in the Biochemistry, Molecular Biology, and Biophysics Ph.D. program at UMN Twin Cities, coadvised by Mike Smanski and Przemek Bajer. His research focuses on diverse applications for genetic engineering technologies. Originally from Anchorage, Alaska, Sam first came to Minnesota to pursue a chemistry major at Macalester College.

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Mikael EliasDr. Mikael Elias

Mikael Elias received his B.S. and M.S. degrees from Université de Lorraine (France) and his Ph.D. degree from Université Aix-Marseille (France). He joined the Weizmann Institute of Science (Israel) as a Postdoctoral Fellow, where he worked as a Visiting Scientist and later as a Marie Curie Fellow. Since 2014, he has been an assistant professor at the University of Minnesota. His research lies at the interface of biology and chemistry. He studies the structure, function and evolution of proteins and enzymes in particular. His scope of studies extends to microbiology with an emphasis on microbial chemical languages. With the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center, he is evaluating coatings to suppress zebra mussel populations.

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Joaquin EscobarJoaquin Escobar-Dodero

Joaquin is a veterinarian originally from Chile. His research focuses on investigating the epidemiological and biogeographical components of aquatic infectious diseases, in both wild and farming settings, to elucidate the diseases dynamic, impact, and control methods; and to evaluate management strategies that support decision-making aimed to prevent and control the spread of aquatic infectious diseases.

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Wes GlissonWesley Glisson

Wes Glisson is a research fellow with the Larkin lab in the Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology Department and the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center. His work focuses on understanding the biology and ecology of aquatic invasive plant species within an applied management and restoration framework. His current research projects include examining the invasive ability of Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) versus hybrid watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum x  Myriophyllum sibiricum) and the control and impacts of starry stonewort (Nitellopsis obtusa) invasion.

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Daryl GohlDr. Daryl Gohl

Daryl Gohl, Ph.D., leads the University of Minnesota Genomics Center’s Innovation Lab and is a Research Assistant Professor in the Department of Genetics, Cell Biology, and Development at the University of Minnesota. Dr. Gohl's work focuses on developing new techniques for genomics-based measurements and genetic manipulation of complex biological systems. Dr. Gohl has applied such methods to diverse problems, from accurately measuring microbial communities (microbiomes), to studying the nervous system, to infectious diseases such as HIV, tuberculosis, and the recent coronavirus pandemic. Dr. Gohl was part of the team that sequenced the zebra mussel genome, and is now working (together with Dr. Michael McCartney and Dr. Scott Ballantyne) to use this genomic information to develop methods to genetically manipulate zebra mussels and to identify a genetic achilles heel that could aid biocontrol efforts. In addition to his academic work, Dr. Gohl is a Co-Founder and Senior Scientific Advisor of CoreBiome, Inc. (now Diversigen, Inc.) a microbiome analysis company based in New Brighton, MN.

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Gretchen HansenDr. Gretchen Hansen

Dr. Gretchen Hansen is an assistant professor in the Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology Department at the University of Minnesota. Her research focuses on large scale drivers of change in freshwater ecosystems, including climate, land use, and invasive species. She is especially interested in how local management and lake characteristics influence the resilience of fish populations and communities to regional and global change. Gretchen previously worked as a research scientist for state fisheries management agencies, and is committing to conducting actionable science via collaboration with stakeholders and managers. To answer complex questions she employs multiple approaches including statistical analyses of historical data, observational field studies, simulation modeling, and large-scale experimentation.

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Amy KinsleyDr. Amy Kinsley

Amy Kinsley is an Assistant Professor in the Department of Veterinary Population Medicine. Her research focuses on using advanced epidemiological modeling techniques to develop tools that support decision making surrounding the management of invasive species, infectious diseases, and aquatic pollutants. Most recently, she has been working on a legislative report with the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center on the design of a statewide surveillance and early detection program for Minnesota. She has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from the University of Florida and a DVM and PhD from the University of Minnesota. When she is not working, Amy enjoys playing with her five year-old son, sailing, swimming, running, and trying new recipes. 

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Jess KozarekJess Kozarek

Jessica Kozarek is a Research Associate at St. Anthony Falls Laboratory. Her research focuses on ecohydraulics (or the interactions between flow, sediment, and aquatic biota), and stream and river restoration and management. She has just begun a new project with the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center to test the feasibility of multi-beam sonar methods to detect zebra mussel beds.

Poster:

  • Early detection of zebra mussels using multibeam sonar

 

Holly KundelHolly Kundel

Holly Kundel is an NSF Fellow in the Conservation Sciences Program working in Dr. Gretchen Hansen's lab. She graduated with a B.S in Biology with minors in Environmental Studies and Mathematics from Augsburg University in 2019, where she studied dragonfly phenology, invertebrate communities in fishless ponds, and worked to understand fish colonization in the Prairie Pothole Region. In the Hansen lab, Holly is working with approximately 50 years worth of walleye (Sander vitreus) catch data collected by the Minnesota DNR in hopes of learning how invasive zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha) impact walleye recruitment. In order to quantify the impact that zebra mussels have on Minnesota's walleye, she will be implementing Bayesian hierarchical models. Holly hopes results from her project will help inform managers working to preserve walleye populations in the state. Holly has lived in Minnesota her whole life and she hopes to be able to continue to conserve and protect Minnesota's water bodies and the amazing organisms that colonize them from invasive species, climate change, and other human-caused stressors. 

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Dan LarkinDr. Dan Larkin

Dr. Larkin specializes in aquatic and wetland plant management and restoration. His research addresses applied problems concerning how to reduce the spread and impacts of invasive plant species and support the recovery of impacted areas through ecological restoration and management. His work with MAISRC involves research and extension outreach on risk assessment, control, and post-treatment restoration of aquatic habitats impacted by Eurasian watermilfoil, curly-leaf pondweed, non-native Phragmites, starry stonewort, and other invasive plants.

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Lucy LeversDr. Lucy Levers

Dr. Levers incorporates natural resource, ecological, and environmental economics into interdisciplinary research projects. She is currently working on an management and valuation of common carp.

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Meg McEachranMeg McEachran

Meg McEachran is a Ph.D. candidate in the Phelps lab at the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center studying the release of live bait by anglers as a potential pathway for the spread of invasive species. She's interested in taking an interdisciplinary approach to AIS issues drawing from disease ecology, conservation biology, and the social sciences.

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Maggie McQuownMaggie McQuown

 Maggie McQuown is a senior studying Fisheries and Aquatic Biology at the University of Minnesota. She is interested in aquatic invasive species and their impacts on freshwater fish as well as the human dimensions of fisheries management. After completing her undergraduate degree, Maggie plans to pursue a Master’s degree. In her free time, she enjoys hiking and spending time on the water kayaking and fishing.

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Ranjan MuthukrishnanDr. Ranjan Muthukrishnan

Dr. Muthukrishnan’s research aims to understand, predict, and help control and prevent the spread of invasive species in Indiana and beyond. These invasive organisms – which can be plants, animals, or even bacteria or fungi – are transported through human activity to new environments, where their growth may not be limited by natural predators or other constraints of their native habitats. By definition, an invasive species causes some type of harm that affects humans either directly (such as through illness, property damage, or agricultural impacts) or indirectly by disrupting ecosystems in ways that make them more vulnerable to stresses.

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Ray NewmanDr. Ray Newman

Ray Newman is a Distinguished Teaching Professor in the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife and Conservation Biology at the University of Minnesota specializing in aquatic invasive plants. He is passionate about aquatic ecology and understanding the interaction between plants, invertebrates, and fish. His work with the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center includes restoring native plant communities after invasive plants – such as Eurasian watermilfoil and Curly-leaf pondweed – have been introduced and assessing the distribution of hybrid watermilfoil and management implications of different genotypes. He was previously researching sustainable methods of biocontrol involving weevils and integrated approaches to milfoil management.

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Andrzej NoyszewskiAndrzej Noyszewski

Andrzej was a Postdoctoral Associate working with Daniel Larkin, investigating the possibility of hybridization between native and introduced types of Phragmites in Minnesota with use of single nucleotide polymorphism DNA markers. Previously he worked with Neil Anderson and Alan Smith, University of Minnesota researching native and exotic status of reed canary grass in Minnesota. Research indicated that reed canary grass wild collections are most likely native to Minnesota. He was involved in pollen grain – style interactions and mutagenesis breeding for seedless varieties of invasive acer ginnala and barberry.

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Nick PhelpsDr. Nicholas Phelps

Nicholas Phelps is Director of the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center and Assistant Professor in the Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology Department. His research broadly focuses on emerging threats to aquatic ecosystem health and sustainability, including aquatic invasive species, infectious diseases of farmed and wild fish, and risk assessment. His work with MAISRC has consisted of risk assessments for Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Virus, invasive pathogen discovery, biological control of carp species, understanding the impacts of Heterosporosis, and predicting the spread and establishment of a variety of AIS.

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Amit PradahangaDr. Amit Pradhananga

Interests in human dimensions of invasive species management.

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Patrick SelterPatrick Selter

For the past 23 years, Patrick has worked in all aspects of PLM Lake and Land Management. He currently serves as Vice President of Midwest Operations and is an active corporate board member. Patrick relocated with PLM’s expansion from Michigan to northern Minnesota in 2001, and under his leadership PLM has become Minnesota’s leader in management of Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS). Most recently, he has expanded the northern Minnesota services into the Twin Cities metro area with a new, local facility. Patrick has focused his career at PLM on researching scientific, environmentally friendly, and economical management methods that provide effective and long-term solutions to the growing AIS problems in Minnesota. With proven, innovative techniques and continued research and education, Patrick stays on the rapidly changing forefront of AIS. His work is dedicated to helping customers make sound decisions while overseeing and participating in the work being done on hundreds of water bodies by his skilled teams. Amongst various partnerships, Patrick is a member of Minnesota Lakes and Rivers Advocates, the Midwest Aquatic Plant Management Society, and the North American Lake Management Society. Patrick currently resides on the Citizens Advisory Board of the University of Minnesota’s Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research center. Outside of PLM, Patrick is active with his son and two daughters, and enjoys the many great natural resources Minnesota has to offer.

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Mike SmanskiDr. Michael Smanski

Michael Smanski is an Assistant Professor of Biochemistry in the College of Biological Sciences. His expertise is in natural product discovery, genome mining, and genetic systems engineering. With the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center, he is conducting a project on the genetic control of invasive fish.

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Shyam ThomasDr. Shyam Thomas

Shyam is a broadly trained ecologist with a keen interest in understanding species distribution patterns across space and time. Much of his research involves developing ecological models using a combination of GIS and statistics towards finding solutions to real-world conservation problems, particularly prediction and management of invasive species. Past projects involved invasive plants (purple loosestrife and yellow bluestem), insect pests (Asian citrus psyllid and European grapevine moth) and fish mercury contamination. Currently, he is a member of the Hansen and Larkin labs and is developing spatially explicit models to predict invasion risk and socio-economic impacts of Eurasian watermilfoil invasion in Minnesota lakes.

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Ryan ThumDr. Ryan Thum

Dr. Ryan A Thum is an Associate Research Professor of Genetics at Montana State University’s Plant Sciences & Plant Pathology Department. His research program focuses on the ecological genetics of invasive aquatic plants, with specific interest in the role that cryptic genetic diversity plays in invasiveness and herbicide response. The overall applied goal of this research is to develop genetic tests to inform management options for invasive aquatic plants.

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Isaiah ToloIsaiah Tolo

Isaiah E. Tolo is a graduate student in Dr. Phelps' lab working towards his PhD in Fisheries and Aquatic Biology. He received a B.S. in Biological Sciences from Belhaven University and an M.S. in Biomedical Sciences from the University of Mississippi Medical Center in Jackson, Mississippi. His work will focus on exploring the utility of native viruses in the control of invasive carp species.

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Diane WallerDiane Waller

Diane is a research fishery biologist with the USGS Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center in LaCrosse, WI. Her research focuses on development and evaluation of selective management strategies for aquatic invasive species, particularly zebra and quagga mussels. She is especially interested in developing control tools and application methods that minimize impacts to nontarget species. Diane also conducts research on native freshwater mussels including life history studies, development of health assessment tools and investigating causes of mussel mortality events.

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