February 2020 Newsletter

Letter from the Director 

It's already been a busy 2020 at MAISRC and the year is shaping up to be another exciting one. As our innovative research efforts to find solutions to the threats posed by aquatic invasive species continues, there are a few things to update you on in this newsletter as we look towards the spring.

A number of studies have recently been published on zebra mussels, curlyleaf pondweed and starry stonewort with important implications for monitoring and management. We have a new member of the team, Kristin Loobeek, who will join us as our Communications Specialist. And, there are plenty of ways to get involved in our work through upcoming webinars, workshops and an exciting summer job opportunity with MAISRC researchers in the Larkin Lab.

Finally, a friendly reminder that MAISRC is accepting proposals for research studies to advance control and management, prevention of establishment and spread, risk assessment, and early detection of AIS in Minnesota. The submission deadline is March 2, 2020 at 9:00 a.m. 

We’re looking forward to seeing all of the new project ideas roll in over the coming days and hope you enjoy the updates below.

Time to get back to the lab,


Walleye growth rates decline in infested lakes, study finds

A recently published study found that young walleye were 12% smaller in the presence of zebra mussels and 14% smaller in the presence of spiny water fleas as compared to walleye in uninvaded lakes. The findings raise important questions for future study including whether declines in growth rates lead to differences in walleye growth and survival later in life.

Meet Kristin Loobeek, Communications Specialist

We are happy to announce that Kristin Loobeek will be joining MAISRC as our new Communications Specialist.

Kristin comes to MAISRC after serving the State of Minnesota for five and a half years at both the Department of Transportation and the Department of Natural Resources. She received a B.A. in Communications Studies from Concordia University in St. Paul, with an emphasis in environmental science and writing.

Kristin’s first day in the office is March 5th.

Climate change and starry stonewort

A new research project is underway to explore how starry stonewort invades a lake in different locations and climate conditions. Factors like ice-out date, growing season length, and average water temperature may change how the invasive algae behaves.

The goal of the project is to develop a more specific understanding of how climate change will influence the invasion dynamics of the species and affect management strategies.

Recent research roundup

In recent months several studies have been published by MAISRC researchers including:

Carp Management & Lake Restoration Webinar

Common carp are one of the most widespread invasive fish worldwide. On February 28, MAISRC researcher Przemek Bajer will present a brief history of common carp introductions around the world, explain their impacts on lake ecosystems, and discuss some of the new and innovative tools used in carp management. The webinar is at noon and is free to attend but register to ensure your participation.

Become an AIS Detector

Interested in working on the front lines of AIS monitoring and management? Through the AIS Detectors program you will learn about principles of aquatic ecology, AIS identification, Minnesota rules and regulations, as well as how to prevent the spread of AIS and report potential AIS findings. Upcoming workshop dates and locations include:

  • May 8, 2020: Arden Hills, MN
  • May 15, 2020: Duluth, MN
  • May 29, 2020: Alexandria, MN
  • June 5, 2020: Hennepin County, MN (special workshop for Hennepin County residents)
  • June 12, 2020: Grand Rapids, MN

Registration is scheduled to open on March 27th. If your organization or lake association is interested in bringing a workshop to your area, contact us about our group workshop option!

Now hiring: Seasonal Aquatic Field Technician

MAISRC researchers in the Larkin Lab are seeking a seasonal, part-time field technician (20−40 hrs/week) to assist with research projects on the aquatic invasive species Eurasian watermilfoil, curly-leaf pondweed, and starry stonewort. Work will be based out of the University of Minnesota St. Paul campus and will involve travel to field sites within the metro-area as well as occasional overnight travel in greater Minnesota. Work will be primarily field-based and involve sampling aquatic vegetation, recording and entering field data, and operating watercraft.

Thank you to our funders

Our researchers are working diligently to address the AIS issues that threaten Minnesota's waters. We're grateful for the support of our funders, but especially want to thank the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources (LCCMR).

This body makes funding recommendations to the Minnesota Legislature for special environment and natural resource projects, primarily through the Environment and Natural Resources Trust Fund (ENRTF). The Trust Fund is a permanent fund constitutionally established by the residents of Minnesota to assist in the protection, conservation, preservation, and enhancement of the state's air, water, land, fish, wildlife, and other natural resources.

Our sincere thanks to ENRTF, as recommended by the Legislative-Citizen Commission on Minnesota Resources, and all of our supporters and partners. Our work could not continue without this significant source of investment and support.