A Letter from the Director

December 15, 2023
Nick Phelps

Tomorrow's Waters: Navigating the Future of AIS Research in Minnesota

Nick Phelps, Director of the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center

It wasn’t that long ago that Minnesota’s aquatic invasive species landscape was marked by uncertainty and questions. There was a sense of hopelessness; it seemed like the issues caused by AIS were inevitable. The need for an interdisciplinary research program on the University of Minnesota campus was realized in the creation of the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center (MAISRC) in 2012. The state took a chance on a new approach: that through dedicated and long-term research, solutions could be put within reach.

My goal as the Director of MAISRC is to enhance this rigorous academic program with world-class training, field and lab research, and outreach that is directly engaged with local communities and natural resource managers. Because of this strong foundation, we have been able to accomplish some big wins:

  • Advanced methods to suppress common carp populations
  • Sequenced the zebra mussel genome, paving the way for better control strategies
  • Launched online decision-support tools to guide efficient use of limited resources
  • And so much more!

As we look towards the future of AIS research in Minnesota, it’s clear that we are moving in the right direction. As knowledge gaps are filled and new tools are developed, we need to prioritize the implementation of research findings. We are excited to announce that in 2024 we will be launching a new initiative focused on implementing MAISRC research to suppress common carp populations in multiple Minnesota watersheds. Stay connected to learn more while project details are being finalized.

We are advancing scientific understanding and driving innovation to address significant, complex AIS problems proactively and creatively. With our collective vision, effort, and investment, we can solve our AIS problems and make a difference in the future health of our beloved lakes and rivers.

Nicholas Phelps, PhD
Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center

P.S. Take a look at our newest video that premiered at our 10th anniversary celebration last week: