asian carp research

Current Asian carp research at MAISRC primarily focuses on preventing their introduction using enhanced bubble curtains and modifications to locks and dams. Click here to learn more about Asian carp and their impacts.

Key findings and accomplishments

  • Discovered that they could be strongly deterred from passing through Mississippi River locks and dams by adjusting spillway gates due to their relatively weak peak swimming abilities
  • Determined that a sweeping sound played in locks, when combined with an air curtain, should stop 99% of Asian carps from passing through while minimizing effects on native fishes
  • Identified two novel viruses that have potential for biocontrol: picornavirus and paramyxovirus
  • Created a numeric fish passage model that can inform the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers on ways to adjust spillway gates to stop carp while having minimal effects on native fishes
  • Conducted a collaborative risk assessment for Asian carp in Minnesota waters in order to determine high-risk watersheds, potential impacts, and prioritize management recommendations
  • Discovered that Asian carp use a unique set of sensory systems with novel sensitivities to food odors that can be targeted to attract them and stimulate them to consume poisoned food
  • Identified a novel species-specific sex pheromone for silver carp that could be used to attract them
  • Demonstrated that juvenile silver and bighead carps shoal (aggregate) in the laboratory, meaning that the Judas fish concept has potential to be used to locate and control these species
  • Showed that olfaction drives feeding responses in bighead and silver carps, and that the epibranchial organ functions as a pharyngeal taste organ
  • Masculinization of carps using steroid implants has been characterized and appears to be a viable technology for use with Judas fish
  • Using common carp as a model, developed a valid and reliable qPCR assay marker and used it to determine optimal eDNA sampling and extraction procedures
  • Showed in the lab that food attractants have the potential to be used for control of bighead and silver carps; experiments using juvenile bighead and silver carp have demonstrated that ingestion behavior (buccal pumping) in both species is largely mediated by food-related chemicals and can be stimulated with highly filtered food extracts
asian carp

Ongoing research

  • Testing promising lab studies on deterrents in the field
  • Evaluating the acoustic deterrent system installed at Lock and Dam 8 using high-resolution imaging sonar and acoustic receivers to track movement of fishes around and through the lock chamber
  • Conducting virus discovery using Next Gen Sequencing and culturing potential pathogens for biocontrol
  • Evaluating new sound deterrents on Asian carps and native fish
  • Using models to make recommendations to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for the optimization of Lock and Dams 4 and 5 to block carp with minimal effects on native fish by adjusting spillway gates

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