April 2016 Letter from the Director
Dear friends -
With more than three dozen aquatic invasive species found in or threatening to invade Minnesota, it's challenging to set research priorities. The most effective and efficient statewide response to AIS is to have research-based solutions developed prior to the arrival of a species and to have solutions that address multiple species at the same time. Accomplishing both of these goals requires prioritizing research that may seem less urgent relative to specific species that are already spreading.
The Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center attempts to balance these demands through its annual research needs assessment process. With input from the public, a technical team of university scientists and agency AIS specialists reviews the status and trends of AIS already in Minnesota as well AIS spreading elsewhere in North America that are likely to find suitable habitat in the state. This information is used by research needs assessment teams to identify critical uncertainties for all of the high priority species that, if answered, could lead to prevention or control.
With the critical gaps identified, we can then seek out researchers with the skills to solve the problems. We did this recently with a competitive request for proposals that was sent out nationwide. The projects that were selected, based on relevance to solving state problems as well as scientific merit, will be announced soon.
Also look for updates soon on our 2016 research needs assessment process, which will have more emphasis on natural and social systems, such as effective rapid response and understanding risk through economic impacts, as well as a focus on the search for controls for key species such as zebra mussels.
Until then, please enjoy reading updates on research efforts currently underway.