Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center Welcomes Dr. Michael A. McCartney
The Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) today announced its hire of Dr. Michael A. McCartney for the role of Research Assistant Professor specializing in zebra mussel biology and control.
McCartney will lead the Center’s effort to identify prevention and control options for the invasive zebra mussel in Minnesota waters.
Dr. McCartney comes from the University of North Carolina, where he served for 13 years as a professor and director of a laboratory researching marine and freshwater aquatic animals. An expert on molecular ecology of mollusks and other invertebrates and fishes, he uses modern genetic analysis methods to understand population origins and relationships, their distribution patterns, and reproduction and life cycles.
At MAISRC, Dr. McCartney will use this approach to seek critical insights into how zebra mussels have spread and become established in Minnesota waters and therefore how management actions can be targeted for their control.
“We’re very excited to welcome Dr. McCartney into the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center as our first full time faculty member,” said Dr. Peter Sorensen, Scientific Director of MAISRC.
“Dr. McCartney is an exciting new addition to the AIS Research Center and his focus on zebra mussel genetics and ecology will provide critical expertise to our zebra mussel management efforts,” said DNR Commissioner Tom Landwehr. “Managing invasive mussels is a high priority for the DNR, and this type of cutting edge research is an important piece of an effective control strategy.”
Zebra mussels are small (typically less than 2 inches long) mollusks that attach to solid surfaces in water and filter feed, thereby disrupting entire food chains and reducing food for native fishes. They also create severe problems for those who use Minnesota’s lakes due to their sharp, cutting edges. Millions of dollars are spent each year trying to clear zebra mussels from industrial water intake systems. Native to Eastern Europe and Western Russia, they were brought over to the Great Lakes in ballast water of freighters and are spreading rapidly for reasons that are not yet understood.
Founded in 2012 with funding from the Clean Water Fund and the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund, MAISRC is tasked with developing biologically and economically sound solutions to better control key aquatic invasive species affecting Minnesota’s waters.
Dr. McCartney will be a member of the Department of Fisheries, Wildlife, and Conservation Biology in the University of Minnesota’s College of Food, Agricultural, and Natural Resource Sciences. He will begin work at the MAISRC on December 2, 2013.