2016 Research Highlights from MAISRC
2016 was a big year at MAISRC! From opening our newly renovated, state-of-the-art containment lab in February to welcoming a new co-director, Nick Phelps, in July, and -- most importantly -- lots of research accomplishments, we've been busy! We're grateful for your support throughout the year and are excited to share with you some highlights from the year.
- Completed sequencing of a draft genome of the zebra mussel, which we will use to explore possible genetic weaknesses that can be targeted for control
- Developed an early detection tool that simultaneously detects the presence of zebra mussels, quagga mussels, and their microscopic larvae with just one lake water sample
- Launched a new project to determine the long-term impacts of spiny waterflea using lake sediment data
- Evaluated treatment options to develop a set of rapid response protocols for treating localized zebra mussel infestations
- Created a statewide risk map showing areas susceptible to starry stonewort infestation and began efforts to bring it to a lake-level resolution
- Determined that improving lake water clarity can help native plants re-establish after treatment of Eurasian watermilfoil — and hopefully reduce the need for further chemical treatments
- Launched a new project to investigate the ecology and invasiveness of hybrid watermilfoil, a growing threat in Minnesota
- Kicked off a new suite of research on starry stonewort, curly-leaf pondweed, and Eurasian watermilfoil which includes risk assessment, herbicide screening, and evaluation of prevention techniques
- Made final recommendations to the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers for modifying gate operations to reduce passage of Bigheaded carps through Lock & Dam 8, and began work to do the same at Lock & Dams 2 and 5
- Established that invasive common carp are more damaging to biodiversity than human development – highlighting the need for, and benefits of, increased control
- Conducted a collaborative risk assessment for Asian carp in Minnesota waters in order to determine high-risk watersheds, potential impacts from infestation, and prioritize management recommendations
- Developed a species-specific delivery system for a toxin to control common carp
- Identified two novel viruses in carp which could be harnessed for use as a biocontrol
- Sampled for Heterosporis, a disease that threatens many native fish species, in Cass Lake and conducted research to determine how fish become infected, how the parasite spreads, and how water temperature impacts the parasite
- Certified the first class of Aquatic Invasive Species Detectors through our new program with University of Minnesota Extension
- Published over a dozen peer-reviewed papers
- Welcomed the public to our third annual AIS Research and Management Showcase
- Conducted our second biennial Research Needs Assessment (from which we're currently accepting proposals!)
Join us in 2017
We have big plans for next year, but we need you by our side. Help us do this critical work with a gift today -- private contributions to MAISRC make a real difference and provide us with the flexibility to meet critical needs as they arise. Your gift today will help propel our groundbreaking research projects on starry stonewort, zebra mussels, spiny waterflea, and other invasive species forward.
Next year, we'll also be working to find a source of stable funding to sustain the Center past our current grant period of 2019. If you're interested in helping with this legislative endeavor, please contact us.
Thank you for all you do to protect Minnesota’s cherished lakes, rivers, and wetlands!