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					                                                                       Aquatic Invaders and the Great Lakes:
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                                                                        Simple Questions, Complex Answers
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                   How many aquatic non-native                                                                                                                                                             after the St. Lawrence Seaway opened, through 2006, ~64% of
                   (nonindigenous, exotic) species are there                                                                                                                                               established aquatic invaders discovered in the Great Lakes are
                                                                                                                                                                                                           attributed to ballast discharge. Recent research suggests that the
                   in the Great Lakes?
                   (From information and text provided by Prof. A. Ricciardi,                                                                                                                              residual water and mud found in many “empty” ballast tanks (i.e.,
                   McGill University, Canada).                                                                                                                                                             no-ballast-on-board” or “NOBOB” tanks) is also a potential source
                   The earliest record of a species not native to any part of the Great                                                                                                                    for species invasions. Hull fouling is not thought to be a significant
                   Lakes Basin is bitter dock (Rumex obtusifolius), a vascular invasive                                                                                                                    vector for new introductions to the Great Lakes, because most
                   plant first reported in 1840 and native to Europe. Extensive                                                                                                                            freshwater fouling organisms are not likely to survive prolonged
                   literature reviews have documented ~185 aquatic invaders                                                                                                                                exposure to salt water during transoceanic voyages. Deliberate
                   established in the Great Lakes as of May 2007, representing                                                                                                                             releases made the second largest contribution, primarily from
                   fishes, invertebrates, aquatic plants, algae, and pathogens.                                                                                                                            releases related to cultivation and fish stocking. Canals connecting
                   This number is best interpreted as a minimum, as it does not                                                                                                                            watersheds and river systems were responsible for some significant
                   include species that are native to part of the basin and invasive                                                                                                                       historical introductions such as alewife and white perch, as well
                   in other parts (e.g., sea lamprey, rusty crawfish). The total number                                                                                                                    as a number of snails. Three species of Asian carp (silver, black,
                   of non-native species listed as being established (i.e. having a                                                                                                                        and bighead) that are moving up the Mississippi River system
                   sustainable reproducing population) within the Great Lakes basin                                                                                                                        potentially have access to Lake Michigan via the Chicago Sanitary
                   cannot be known with absolute precision, because identification                                                                                                                         and Ship Canal. Millions of federal and state dollars are being
                   depends on our ability to find, recognize, verify, and document                                                                                                                         invested in electric barriers designed to keep the fish from moving
                   new species, which is, in turn, dependent on our ability to sample                                                                                                                      into the Lakes.
                   the system, and how often we sample it.
                                                                                                                                                                                                           What effect are these organisms
                   While all of these ~185 species are invaders - not native to                                                                                                                            having on the Great Lakes?
                   the Great Lakes, not all are considered “invasive” (species that
                   have established sustained populations and that can or do                                                                                                                               There have been major impacts on the Great Lakes ecosystem that
                   harm the ecosystem, economy, or human health). Key examples                                                                                                                             appear to be directly, and indirectly, linked to some ANS. These
                   of “invasive” species in the Great Lakes are viral hemorrhagic                                                                                                                          impacts affect both the commercial and recreational resources for
                   septicemia (VHS), the zebra and quagga mussels, round goby,                                                                                                                             which the Great Lakes are best known. Examples include:
                   spiny and fishhook waterfleas, ruffe, and Eurasian watermilfoil.                                                                                                                        l     Clogging of fishing nets by the fishhook waterflea increases
                                                                                                                                                                                                                 costs for commercial fishermen.
                   How are nonindigenous species getting
                                                                                                                                                                                                           l     Eurasian watermilfoil interferes with swimming, fishing, water
                   into the Great Lakes?                                                                                                                                                                         skiing, and boating. The sheer mass of plants can cause
                   Ships’ ballast tanks have been the major vector for non-native                                                                                                                                flooding and the stagnant mats can create good habitat for
                   species introductions to the Great Lakes. From 1960, the year                                                                                                                                 mosquitoes.

                   Time-series                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                 Activities
                   of aquatic                                          200                                                                                                                                          R ailr oa ds & H igh w ays
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               (vectors)
                   invaders                                            180                                                                                                                                     B a lla st Wa te r /H ull Fo uling
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               that have
                   discovered                                          160                                                                                                                                                      B ait R e le a se                                              introduced
                   in the Great                                        140                                                                                                                                                             Aq ua r ia                                              non-native
                   Lakes since                                         120
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                S o lid B a lla s t                                            species to
                   1840, by                                            100
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                        C a na ls                                              the Great
                   decades.                                             80
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     U n kn ow n
                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               Lakes.
                                                                        60
                                                                                                                                                                                                                   U n in te n tion al R e le a se
                                                                        40
                                                                                                                                                                                                                       D e libe r ate R e le a se
                                                                       Cumulative Number of Invaders
                                                                        20
                                                                                                                                                                                                                         B allas t D isc ha r ge
                                                                         0
                                                                                                                              1910

                                                                                                                                     1920




                                                                                                                                                                               1980
                                                                                                                                                                                      1990



                                                                                                                                                                                                    2010




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      0   10   20    30   40   50    60   70
                                                                             1840




                                                                                                                                                                 1960




                                                                                                                                                                                             2000
                                                                                                                                            1930




                                                                                                                                                                        1970
                                                                                    1850

                                                                                           1860

                                                                                                  1870
                                                                                                         1880

                                                                                                                1890

                                                                                                                       1900




                                                                                                                                                   1940
                                                                                                                                                          1950




                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                      Nu m b e r o f ANS (1 8 4 0 -2 0 0 6 )
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                    NOAA, Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory l 4840 S. State Rd.l Ann Arbor, MI l 734-741-2235 l June 2007
                                                                                                                                                    l   Quagga mussels appear to promote the growth of the bacteria
                                           Where are these organisms                                                                                    responsible for type E botulism and to concentrate the botulism
                                            (species) coming from?                                                                                      toxin. More than 52,000 waterbird deaths were attributed to
                                                                                                                                                        Type E botulism from 2002 to 2006 on the Great Lakes.
                     100
                                                                                                                                                    l   Lake whitefish are less robust (and lower in economic value),
                            90                                                                                                                          probably due to the decline in Diporeia, a small shrimp-like
Number of ANS (1840-2006)




                            80                                                                                                                          organism that has been their primary food. Diporeia declines
                                                                                                                                                        are associated with the invasion of zebra and quagga mussels.
                            70                                                                                                                          Declines in the yellow perch population in Lake Michigan
                            60                                                                                                                          likewise appear to be associated with one or more invasive
                                                                                                                                                        species.
                            50
                                                                                                                                                    l   Round gobies vigorously defend spawning sites in rocky or
                            40
                                                                                                                                                        gravel habitats, thereby restricting access of native fish to
                            30                                                                                                                          prime spawning areas.
                            20                                                                                                                      l   As viral hemorrhagic septicemia (VHS), a 2005 discovery,
                                                                                                                                                        spreads among fish populations, potentially devastating
                            10
                                                                                                                                                        fishery and related economic losses are feared.
                              0
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                                                                                                                                                    What is GLERL’s Scientific Program and
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                                                                                                                                                    Other Activities Related to the Aquatic
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                                                                                                                                                    Invaders Issue?
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                                                                                                                 Native Region
                  Native regions of aquatic invaders found in the Great Lakes.                                                                      GLERL’s research targets two critical areas related to Great Lakes
                                                                                                                                                    invaders: (1) prevention and control to stop the inflow and spread
      The majority of aquatic species that have invaded the Great                                                                                   of new aquatic organisms, particularly via ship ballast, and (2)
      Lakes have native ranges in Eurasia (Europe plus Asia) or in                                                                                  understanding and minimizing ecological impacts of species
      Europe. A subset of Eurasian species that are native to the                                                                                   invasions through ecosystem modeling and forecasting. Details of
      Ponto-Caspian basins (Black, Caspian, and Azov Seas) of                                                                                       GLERL’s current research program and activities can be found at
      Eastern Europe have been remarkably successful in the Great                                                                                   http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/res/Programs/ais/
      Lakes, especially over the last 25 years. From 1980 to 1992, 7
      of 20 newly discovered species attributed to ballast water were                                                                               Partnerships and scientific collaborations are an important
      Ponto-Caspian natives, while from 1994 to 2006, 10 of 14                                                                                      component of GLERL’s research programs. Partners involved with
      newly discovered species attributed to ballast water were Ponto-                                                                              our aquatic invaders research are international in scope, and
      Caspian natives. Prominent among them are zebra and quagga                                                                                    include scientists from many universities, government agencies,
      mussels, round gobies, fishhook waterflea, Echinogammarus                                                                                     and foreign research institutions.
      amphipods, and the most recent (2006) invader, the bloody
      red shrimp. Ponto-Caspian taxa now constitute a very significant                                                                              GLERL is home to the NOAA National Center for Research on Aquatic
      component of the biomass and productivity of Great Lakes’                                                                                     Invasive Species http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/res/Programs/ncrais
      food webs. Coastal North Atlantic is the third largest known                                                                                  and also represents NOAA on the Great Lakes Panel on Aquatic
                        source for nonindigenous species in the                                                                                     Nuisance Species.
                              Great Lakes. Examples of ANS from this
                                   region include alewife, blueback                                                                                 GLERL scientists also interact with various stakeholders on invasive
                                      herring, and the devastating fish                                                                             species issues, such as the International Joint Commission, the
                                        virus, VHS.                                                                                                 International Association for Great Lakes Research, other Federal
                                                                                                                                                    and state agencies, and the news media.
                                                                                                                     Zebra mussels attach to the
                                                                                                                                                           For more information on this or other GLERL
                                                                                                                    shells of native mussels,
                                                                                                                                                           research projects, please contact:
                                                                                                                   prohibiting them from feeding.
                                                                                                                                                           GLERL Information Services
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                                                                                                                                                           4840 S. State Rd.
                                                                                                                                                           Ann Arbor, MI 48108, 734-741-2235
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