Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center

Dr. Nicolas Phelps, Director MAISRC/U of MN, Guest Speaker

"Science battles back!"  Dr. Phelps shared an overview of the threats that our Minnesota lakes and rivers face from aquatic invasive species and how these invaders affect the health of our fish, water, and native plants.  Invasive plants such as starry stonewort, invasive invertebrates such as zebra mussels, and invasive fish such as bighead carp. 

The Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) is researching ways to address the issues created by the invaders.  This program was started in 2012 and has a program that looks at zebra mussel control and has lab work done right on Lake Minnetonka.  The program has quantified that walleye in infested lakes are approximately 10% smaller after the first growing season and are less likely to survive to year two.  The program has also mapped the genome of the zebra mussel and will use this information to determine effective possibilities to control and hopefully eradicate this species.  There are 60 researchers that work on this program.  If you would like to learn more details on the studies being conducted on Lake Minnetonka, click here.

An offshoot program, to involve members of the community, is the Citizen Science Program.  This is a volunteer program which requires 40 hours a year of volunteer service, 8 hours of training, and allows community members to become AIS detectors (Aquatic Invasive Species Detector.) The program connects youth and adults to large scale scientific research projects.  For more information on that program, click here.

Dr. Phelps is most optimistic about creating effective prevention strategies ans improving surveillance and rapid response protocols to stop the affects of invasive species.