Eco-epidemiological model to assess aquatic invasive species management

Project manager: Nick Phelps (Read the Managing Director Conflict of Interest in MAISRC Proposal Funding policy here)

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

Description: MAISRC researchers are working to develop a first-of-its-kind eco-epidemiological model that will forecast the potential risk of spread of zebra mussels and starry stonewort across Minnesota. The model will take into account introduction probability, establishment probability, and levels of management interventions. This model will be used as a decision-making tool to generate effective intervention strategies and design cost-effective surveillance programs to mitigate and prevent the spread of AIS.

To establish introduction probability, pathways among lakes will be evaluated based on water connectivity, boater movement, and geographic proximity. To understand the establishment probability, researchers will use next-generation ecological niche modeling techniques with remote sensing data. Cumulatively, this will identify lakes or areas of the state that are at higher risk for AIS, including lakes that are highly vulnerable and lakes that may be “super-spreaders,” both of which will help prioritize management efforts.   

Data from this project is now available for download and use:

This project resulted in a predictive risk model for zebra mussels and starry stonewort that estimates the probability of a lake becoming infested by 2025.

The model evaluated all 25,000 bodies of water in Minnesota that are recognized by the Minnesota DNR and took into account the three abovementioned factors for each. 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.

Note that each county is on a separate tab of the Excel spreadsheet.

Project start date: 2016

Estimated project end date: 2018

Updates and progress: