Developing food attractants for silver carp that can be used to induce aggregation and control them: a new biochemical tool

This project identified and developed chemical food attractants for Asian carp that could be used with poison nanoparticles being developed by the USGS. Understanding how to optimize food and sex pheromones in the lab will allow researchers to develop ways to apply sensory cues to attract carp and stimulate aggregation.

In addition to knowing where these fish are, researchers would ideally also be able to stimulate them to aggregate in specific locations using attractants. Common carp and Asian carp are social animals that tend to aggregate, so this approach has great promise. Initial work with radio-tagged common carp has already demonstrated that these fish will quickly locate aggregating groups of conspecifics in the winter, when the entire group can be located and removed by seining (this is also known as the Judas fish technique). Researchers also aim to develop food and/or sex pheromone attractants to stimulate aggregations outside of the winter months.

Pilot work in Minnesota has shown that starry stonewort populations and growth patterns of can vary between years and between lakes in different locations. These patterns suggest that how starry stonewort invades a lake could be influenced by climatological factors such as ice-out date, growing season length, and average water temperature. If this is the case, then developing effective management strategies for starry stonewort requires a deeper and more specific understanding of how climate change will influence the invasion dynamics of the species. 

The project includes:

  • An empirical study of starry stonewort invasion dynamics in nine lakes across latitudinal gradients in Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Indiana.
  • Interviews with AIS managers and decision-makers in Wiscnsin, Minnesota and Indiana to examine invasive species management perceptions and preferences as they relate to starry stonewort.
  • Modeling starry stonewort invasion patterns under a range of climate and management scenarios. 

This project will provide practical information on the ecology of starry stonewort, a summary of current stakeholder preferences around starry stonewort management, as well as an evaluation of optimal management strategies.

The study is one component of a larger research project that is funded by the Prepared for Environmental Change Grand Challenge initiative administered by the Environmental Resilience Institute at Indiana University

Project manager: Peter Sorensen

Funded by: Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources

Project start date: 2012

Project end date: 2016; Phase 2 -- Attracting carp so their presence can be accurately assessed -- to continue through 2019

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