October 2019 newsletter

New findings: zebra mussels, Asian carp, Phragmites, and more

Researchers at MAISRC wrapped up six projects in the fall of 2019. Outcomes include:

  • The distribution of invasive Phragmites was mapped in Minnesota for the first time, and researchers investigated its spread potential and developed strategies for coordinated response. An identification guide, map of occurrences, and region-specific management recommendations were created. The management recommendations includes specific response options, cost estimates, training needs, and more. Learn more here.
  • Survey designs for estimating zebra mussel density in newly infested lakes were evaluated and specific recommendations were made based on differing lake populations. A training video, data collection worksheets, and an analysis tutorial were made available online.  Learn more here.

  • Several microorganisms were isolated that could be pathogenic to zebra mussels and Eurasian watermilfoil. This project also found that Eurasian watermilfoil is associated with elevated concentrations of E. coli and human pathogens. Two papers have been published. Learn more here.

  • Updates were made to a Computational Fluid Dynamics Agent-Based fish passage model to better incorporate field data. This model will help block invasive Asian carp from moving up the Mississippi River by utilizing locks and dams, while still allowing native fish to swim upstream. One paper has been published. Learn more here

  • A complex model that takes into account water connectivity and boater movement to predict zebra mussel and Eurasian watermilfoil invasion patterns was created. Using the model, county-based recommendations to prioritize and optimize the location of watercraft inspectors were made. The model was piloted with Crow Wing, Ramsey, and Stearns Counties. Data from the first phase of this project is available here. Learn more about the second phase of research here.

  • Incorporating previous research into food and pheromone cues, eDNA, and light, sound, and air barriers, the first invasive carp deterrent system at a lock and dam in the U.S. is now installed in southern Minnesota. Lab tests have shown 97% prevention. Several papers have been published. Learn more here.

Additional work ongoing

Several other projects wrapped up their first phase of research and will be continuing into additional phases. Over the next two years, researchers will be answering questions such as:

  • Can we take advantage of carps’ personality traits and social learning behavior to control them? More info
  • When did spiny waterflea really invade Minnesota lakes, and what does this tell us about improving sampling and prevention efforts? More info
  • How do zebra mussels impact walleye recruitment, food web dynamics, and mercury concentrations in Minnesota lakes? More info
  • What herbicides are best for controlling hybrid watermilfoil, and is herbicidal resistance present? More info
  • Can large areas of lakes be quickly monitored for zebra mussels using multibeam sonar? More info 
  • What factors – seed addition, invader removal, and/or light availability – contribute to the recovery of native aquatic plant communities most effectively? More info
  • What is the pathogenicity of koi herpesvirus in adult and juvenile carp, and how can we ensure it’s a safe and effective method of carp control? More info

Starry stonewort webinar now available

What are the impacts of starry stonewort on plant communities in Minnesota lakes? MAISRC graduate student Carli Wagner shared the results of her research in a webinar this month, which is now available for viewing here. Starry stonewort has been found in fourteen Minnesota lakes and can grow abundant and dense. This certainly has recreational impacts, but the ecological effects of starry stonewort in Minnesota lakes are unknown. Potential impacts to native aquatic plants are of particular concern since they are an integral part of lake ecosystems. Carli examined the impacts of starry stonewort on native aquatic plants and tracked its invasion over multiple years to assess how it spreads and changes habitat. Watch the webinar here.

Presentations from 2019 AIS Research and Management Showcase now available

Thanks to everyone who attended the 2019 AIS Research and Management Showcase. We had a record 300 attendees! If you missed the event, you can view many of the presentations and posters online here. Learn how to create your own AIS monitoring equipment, what effects zebra mussels and spiny waterflea are having on walleye, using coatings to prevent the spread of AIS, and much more.

And mark your calendars for the 2020 Showcase: Tuesday, Sept. 22!

Request for proposals coming in January

Attention all AIS researchers! The Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center will be opening its request for research proposals in early January, 2020. Pre-proposals will be due in early March, and monies will be available in January 2021. Additional details on research priorities will be in the RFP, but proposals must research one or more of MAISRC’s high-priority species. Stay tuned for more information!

AIS Detectors program wins University of Minnesota Extension award

In September, the AIS Detectors Program was recognized by University of Minnesota Extension with the 2019 Dean's Award for Distinguished Team. This award celebrates the effort that the AIS Detectors team has put in to develop educational programming, conduct outreach and education across Minnesota, foster partnerships with organizations including MN DNR and Sea Grant, and support a statewide network of volunteers. University of Minnesota Extension Dean Beverly Durgan presented the award to the full team behind the AIS Detectors Program. We’re so pleased to be recognized!

Want to join this award-winning program? Registration for the 2020 sessions will open in spring. Workshop dates and locations will be available on our website as they become available.

Recent publications

Support MAISRC with a gift today

Our researchers are working diligently all across the state to address the AIS issues that are threatening Minnesota’s waters. 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. Thank you!