We aim to develop a framework to improve understanding of the impact of aquatic invasive species on lakes and rivers, including water quality and ecosystem dynamics; identify lake and river characteristics that promote or hinder their establishment; and guide management decisions that will improve water resources at the regional scale, with particular focus in the Upper Mississippi River basin. The project will address three research questions:
- What symbiotic or antagonistic relationships exist among aquatic invasive species in the Upper Mississippi basin and tributaries to the Great Lakes?
- What are the hydrodynamic, morphodynamic, and water quality features, generated by some aquatic invasive species that can benefit or deter the survival rates of other invasive species? and
- How can direct and indirect effects from mitigation strategies advance mitigation efforts for one species while hindering control efforts for another one.
To systematically address these questions, we will conduct a series of laboratory experiments to test surrogates of various species under various flow conditions, identifying the interactions between species at various scales. We expect our study to help bridge the gap between short-term local strategies and the long-term regional impact resulting from physical changes to the ecosystem that can hinder propagation of an invasive species while favoring the spread of another.