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March 9, 2023

The U.S. Geological Survey, U.S. National Park Service, and U.S. Forest Service are collaborating to understand the impacts of Elodea, an invasive aquatic plant species to Arctic and Subarctic ecosystems. Elodea is already established in multiple waterbodies in Alaska. Research on Elodea will help prioritize management efforts for this aquatic plant invader.

In a collaborative study lead by U.S. Geological Survey, scientists test effects of Elodea on the growth of juvenile coho salmon in an infested lake near Cordova, Alaska. A publication “Elodea mediates juvenile salmon growth by altering physical structure in freshwater habitats” explores how Elodea effects juvenile salmon growth and contributes to our understanding of ecology in high-latitude ecosystems that are increasingly at risk from invasive species. As drivers of ecosystem properties, submerged aquatic vegetation is one of the most harmful biological invasions to aquatic food webs. Study results suggest that widespread establishment of Elodea may alter the quality of habitat for juvenile salmon and by affecting juvenile fish growth, could lead to population-level impacts on salmon returns.


NPS Article: How does Elodea impact juvenile salmon?

A snorkeler sampling inside a limnocorral in McKinley Lake
Elizabeth Camarati (USDA Forest Service) is snorkeling and sampling limnocorrals in McKinley Lake near Cordova, Alaska to examine food web effects of Elodea spp. (Credit: Mike Carey, USGS. Public domain.) Disclaimer statement: Any use of trade, firm, or product names is for descriptive purposes only and does not imply endorsement by the U.S. Government.

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