Aquatic Invasive Species

Topic AIS

What allows Zebra Mussels to attach so tightly and quickly to hard surfaces?

Project: Identification of Adhesion Molecules in the Zebra Mussel (Dreissena polymorpha)

Among their many traits, zebra mussels have a remarkable ability to attach quickly and tightly to underwater surfaces using fine hairs called byssal threads and a complex mixture of adhesive proteins. Once established on underwater surfaces and inside water intake pipes in the Great Lakes and inland waters, zebra mussels filter nutrients, alter native habitat and contribute to harmful algal blooms and loss of native species. Researchers are using DNA technology to identify the adhesion proteins and processes of zebra mussels, which may lead to innovative strategies to control zebra mussel populations.

R/ZM-10, dates: 2003-2006
Mohamed Faisal, Michigan State University


Identification of Diseases and Host Defense Mechanisms in the Zebra Mussel (Dreissena polymorpha)

R/NIS-13, dates: 2003-2006
Mohamed Faisal, Michigan State University


Round Goby Research Helps Explain Rapid Spread

Project: Impact, Barriers, and Control of Round and Tubenose Gobies in the Great Lakes

Research supported in part by Michigan Sea Grant has revealed how the invasive Round Goby may have spread so rapidly throughout the Great Lakes. University of Michigan scientists documented that during the night, Round Gobies migrate from the lake bottom to surface waters. This movement is thought to increase the chances of larval Gobies getting drawn into commercial ships when they take on ballast water at night. The results of the project could influence how ballast water is managed in both domestic and foreign freighters in the Great Lakes.

R/NIS-7, dates: 2001-2004
David Jude, University of Michigan


A Collaborative Approach to Advance Implementation of State Management Plans for Prevention and Control of Aquatic Nuisance Species in the Great Lakes Region

R/NIS-12, dates: 2003-2006
Tom Crane, Michael Donahue Great Lakes Commission


The Economics of Policy Options for Controlling the Introduction and Spread of Invasive Species in the Great Lakes

Researchers assessed several economic methods, or policy options, that may be used to prevent and control the introduction of aquatic invasive species. Examples of policy options include economic incentives, technology regulations, and market-based systems. Results of a quantitative model incorporating these alternative ballast water management options demonstrate how flexible, market-based policies can significantly reduce industry wide ballast management costs, which differ substantially across vessels. The research recommends ways that policy makers can use economic incentives to achieve greater environmental risk reductions. The project has drawn the attention of several groups of economists and ecologists working on invasives issues, as well as policy makers at the U.S. Dept. of Agriculture, who have invited presentations by the principal investigators.

R/EP-9, dates: 2001-2004
Richard Horan, Frank Lupi, Michigan State University


Understanding the Influence of Zebra Mussels on Toxic Cyanobacterial Blooms

Lakes with zebra mussel populations have an average of three times higher levels of a species of blue-green algae known as Microcystis than lakes without. Those same lakes also have about twice the level of microcystins, a toxin produced by the algae. Initially, investigators collected water samples from nearly 100 inland lakes in Michigan’s Lower Peninsula, ranging from Benzie County in the northwest to Oakland County in the southeast, with established zebra mussel populations. Follow-up experiments by Sarnelle and colleagues in west Michigan’s Gull Lake showed that zebra mussels are indeed the cause of the increase in toxic algae. There have been documented cases in which animals, including cattle and dogs, died after drinking water with high levels of microcystins and the toxin is believed to be responsible for liver damage in humans.

R/NIS-4, dates: 2000-2003
Orlando Sarnelle, Michigan State University


Economic Impact of Measures to Limit Introduction of Non-Indigenous Species on St. Lawrence Seaway Shipping

R/NIS-3, dates: 2000-2003
Anastassios Perakis, University of Michigan
Michael Donahue, Great Lakes Commission


Invasion Susceptibility and Ecosystems Fragmentation of Great Lakes Coastal Rivers and Lakes by the Newly Introduced Round and Tubenose Goby

R/NIS-2, dates: 1999-2002
David Jude, University of Michigan


The Potential Economic Damage of Ruffe in the Great Lakes

R/NIS-1, dates: 1999-2002
John Hoehn, Frank Lupi, Michigan State University