February 2017 Letter from the Director
Despite most of our research areas being covered in ice, MAISRC researchers didn’t slow down this winter. We have been analyzing data, working in the lab, writing papers and grant proposals, and planning for the field season to come. I remain optimistic that the research progress we are making has, and will continue to, yield actionable results. I’m pleased to highlight a few recent research findings:
- A common algaecide treatment for starry stonewort is not killing its bulbils, the plant’s reproductive structures. This knowledge will allow AIS managers to create better treatment plans and save money, and will inform future research to better target the bulbils.
- Of all the potential adverse effects from a bigheaded carp invasion, the greatest would be on game fish, non-game fish, ecosystem resilience and species diversity, and recreational hazards from jumping fish. These impacts vary in severity by watershed. Identifying these top impacts helps guide management decisions that promise to do more good than harm.
- Eurasian watermilfoil harbors a distinct microbial community compared to surrounding sediment and water. Some of these microbes have potential to be harnessed for use as a biocontrol.
- The key to the Lake Mille Lacs walleye crisis may be buried in the bottom of the lake. Researchers are now extracting frozen sediment cores and examining them for changes to the food web caused by the invasive spiny waterflea.
More research is still to come: last fall we completed our second Research Needs Assessment process (thanks to the hundreds of you who submitted ideas!) and we are now reviewing numerous research proposals. We hope to fund four or five new projects that will launch this summer. More details coming soon!
The early season thaw has MAISRC researchers excited and ready to get back in the field. There is a lot of work planned for this upcoming field season and there are opportunities for you to get involved – including through our new citizen science program, AIS Detectors, which will open for registration later this week. We will be sure to keep sending updates through the newsletter and social media, so stay tuned!
Time to get back to the lab . . .
P.S. Happy National Invasive Species Awareness Week!