August 2018 newsletter

Announcing seven new research projects

MAISRC is excited to announce seven new research projects that launched this summer. These projects were selected as part of a competitive proposal process following a comprehensive research needs assessment. The results of these projects will improve our ability to detect, prevent, and manage aquatic invasive species throughout Minnesota. The projects include:

  • Copper-based control: zebra mussel settlement and non-target impacts
    This project will evaluate the efficacy of low-dose copper treatments to control populations of zebra mussel veligers and suppress their settlement, and evaluate the effects of these treatments on native aquatic animals and algal biomass. Led by James Luoma.
  • A novel technology for eDNA collection and concentration
    This project will develop a novel aquatic eDNA collection and concentration technology for more efficient, reliable, and cost-effective screening for AIS as well as native and endangered species. Led by Abdennour Abbas.
  • Early detection of zebra mussels using multibean sonar
    This project will test the utility of swath mapping systems such as multibeam sonar for detecting and quantifying the abundance of invasive mussels at a very large scale. Led by Jessica Kozarek.
  • AIS management: an eco-economic analysis of ecosystem services
    This project will predict the economic and ecological repercussions of using AIS prevention and control initiatives by quantifying and analyzing the ecological and economic value of AIS damages and management. Led by Amit Pradhananga.
  • Updating an invasive fish and native fish passage model for locks and dams
    This project will create an updated version of the Computational Fluid Dynamics Agent-Based fish passage model using new field data to improve the prevention of invasive carp while allowing native fish to pass through Mississippi River locks and dams. Led by Anvar Gilmanov.
  • Genetic method for the control of invasive fish species
    This project will demonstrate a novel biocontrol method called Synthetic Genetic Incompatibility for controlling invasive species, using common carp as a proof-of-concept. Led by Michael Smanski.
  • What’s in your bucket? Quantifying AIS introduction risk
    This project will assess the risk of introduction of important fish pathogens through the recreational use of baitfish. Led by Nick Phelps.

MAISRC is proud that these projects bring in experts from diverse fields to build capacity and help solve AIS problems for Minnesota, including scientists from the U.S. Geological Survey, the College of Biological Sciences, St. Anthony Falls Laboratory, the Department of Forest Resources, and the Department of Bioproducts and Biosystems Engineering.
Hear directly from these researchers about their new projects at the AIS Research and Management Showcase on Sept. 12!

Predicting the spread of invasive species to improve prevention

MAISRC researchers have completed a predictive risk model for zebra mussels and starry stonewort that estimates the probability of a lake becoming infested by 2025. This data, which can be used to inform decision-making and prioritize prevention activities, is now available for download on our website.

The model evaluated all 25,000 bodies of water in Minnesota that are recognized by the Minnesota DNR and took into account three factors for each: likelihood of AIS introduction due to water connectivity, likelihood of AIS introduction due to boater movement, and environmental suitability. The simulation was run 10,000 times to produce a percentage probability of whether a lake will become infested with either invasive species. For example, a score of 0.3245 means that when the model was run 10,000 times, the lake became infested 3,245 times by 2025 – a 32.45% chance.

Unfortunately, the models are being tested right now by new reports of invasive species findings – but they are performing well. The most recent confirmation of starry stonewort was in Wolf Lake (Beltrami Co), which ranked 32 highest risk out of 24,055 waterbodies in Minnesota.

The data in these spreadsheets are based on the status quo; however, they were built in a way that allows for the integration of various intervention scenarios. As part of this project, researchers did evaluate hypothetical scenarios to see how many future infestations could be averted. To learn more about that, attend Nick Phelps’ session at the AIS Research and Management Showcase on Sept. 12.

“The ability to rank waterbodies based on actual risk, instead of perceived risk, is a game-changer,” said Nick Phelps, project leader. “Our next move is to use this data to create a real-time, interactive database, which will help managers make the most informed decisions possible.”

Learn more about this project and download the data here.


Time is running out to register for the AIS Research and Management Showcase!

The fifth annual Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research and Management Showcase is coming up on September 12. Join us to hear from the state’s top AIS researchers on: 

  • Using genetic controls for invasive species
  • The potential for using viruses against invasive carp
  • Whether zebra mussels are hiding in the nooks and crannies of your boat
  • What gear on your boat is most likely to ensnare spiny waterfleas
  • How to control invasive Phragmites, and much more!

Plus, hear from DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr and University of Minnesota Vice President for Research Al Levine during opening remarks, and stay for a happy hour reception with posters from MAISRC researchers and graduate students!

This is the best opportunity to learn all about MAISRC's research and the latest in AIS management recommendations.  Space is limited and pre-registration is required. See you there!

We want to hear your research ideas

MAISRC is conducting its biennial Research Needs Assessment and wants your input. Please share with us your thoughts on the most pressing research needs for preventing or controlling the spread of aquatic invasive species in Minnesota via this online survey.

MAISRC focuses research efforts on species that are most likely to be in Minnesota, cause significant damage, and for which there are key uncertainties that impede understanding risks or developing effective prevention or control options.

This process includes input from scientists, stakeholders, and AIS managers. All responses received by September 14 will be considered during the Center’s 2018 Research Needs Assessment. Thank you for your time!


MAISRC receives funding recommendation from LCCMR

The Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center is pleased to thank the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR) for their recommendation of $3 million to support MAISRC's critical research in the future. Members of the Commission are listed here; please consider sending them a brief note to thank them for their support of MAISRC!

The LCCMR oversees funds from the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, which was established following voter approval in 1988 and is generated by the Minnesota State Lottery. Final approval regarding the use of these funds comes from the Legislature and requires a signature from the Governor during the 2019 legislative session.