Elodea infestation in Alexander Lake, Matanuska-Susitna Borough, Alaska. Image by Kristine Dunker.

Aquatic invasive species risk management

Effective management of Elodea across large geographic areas relies on detection of new infestations and predictions of its spread. Elodea’s increasing rate-of-spread, combined with limited detection resources, requires agencies to formalize and justify increasingly costly response actions. By better understanding elodea’s invasion processes, multi-agency response coordination can be improved to eradicate or suppress this and other economically damaging invasive aquatic plants. In collaboration with agencies, our research team consisting of Dr. Frank Witmer, Dr. Jen Schmidt (both UAA), Dr. Roman Dial (APU), and Dr. Catherine Jarnevich (USGS Fort Collins) will use existing research and data on elodea, fill knowledge gaps, and integrate available information to provide a comprehensive spatial, ecological, and economic decision support tool to predict spread, support monitoring, and optimize management. We will explore the application of remote sensing (satellite images) to detect elodea presence (new infections) combined with a meta-population model of elodea movement (our model of floatplane and boat pathways) to predict risk of invasion for uninfected water bodies, and integrate the above within a probabilistic decision analysis that’s based on existing habitat suitability models. The proposed work is applicable to the broader response to aquatic invasive species (AIS) in Alaska and will enable agencies to prepare for new aquatic invaders.


. Human Dimensions of Aquatic Invasive Species in Alaska: Lessons Learned While Integrating Economics, Management and Biology to Incentivize Early Detection and Rapid Response. In Alaska: Economic, Environmental, and Social Issues, Lewis, T. (ed.), Nova Science Publishers, Inc., 2018.

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