Aquatic Invasive Species

The overall objective of this program is to reduce the introduction, spread, and impact of aquatic invasive species in New York State through coordinated education, detection, prevention, and control measures.

Research Goals

  • Incorporate potential impacts of climate change on AIS introductions to New York State over various time horizons.
  • Identify a potential standardized set of monitoring “metrics” to be used in AIS impact assessments addressing ecological, health, water quality, recreational, economic, and public perception, and test proposed metrics in priority AIS impact assessments.
  • Identify and/or develop novel technology for identification of invasive species, including advancement of environmental DNA (eDNA) capability, acoustic remote sensing, and artificial intelligence training on aerial and underwater imagery.
  • Explore innovative control strategies, including biological control, integrated pest management, and identification of potential control thresholds for effective impact suppression of widespread, established species such as Eurasian watermilfoil, curly-leaf pondweed, and water chestnut.
  • Evaluate methods for submersed aquatic vegetation (SAV) restoration in waterbodies following invasive species control, with a particular focus on native species selection and resilience against future AIS introductions and climate change.
  • Utilize existing datasets and field investigation to explore trends in AIS movement and population growth across NY state in relationship to key water quality parameters to provide an updated review of species’ tolerance ranges.
  • Examine and develop an understanding of AIS-driven community dynamics, particularly regarding resource competition and predation in both native-invasive interactions and between invaders.
  • Investigate potential beneficial uses for harvested AIS.

Outreach Goals

  • Implement an effective AIS public awareness campaign that will target those likely to introduce AIS or be impacted by AIS introductions. Regularly evaluate these efforts to ensure their effectiveness in preventing the introduction and spread of AIS in New York State.
  • Conduct invasive species ID workshops for interested stakeholders to promote citizen science-related monitoring

Diversity Equity Inclusion/ Environmental Justice

  • Identify underserved stakeholders and collaborate with organizational leadership to develop targeted AIS outreach events and messaging/educational materials.

Select Projects

Developing metrics to assess impacts of invasive aquatic species

Bernd Blossey, Cornell University

Viral Hemorrhagic Septicemia Virus genetic diversity among invasive and native reservoir fishes of the Thousand Islands region, St. Lawrence River

John M. Farrell, SUNY ESF