Upper Midwest Environmental Sciences Center

Aquatic Ecosystem Health

The role of the Aquatic Ecosystem Health program is to conduct research to protect, mitigate, and enhance the health of aquatic ecosystems.  Research conducted within the Program is focused on the following 3 areas of study, (1) controlling aquatic invasive species, (2) fisheries restoration, and (3) understanding the impacts of contaminants on aquatic ecosystems.

Filter Total Items: 74
Date published: January 6, 2021
Status: Active

Database and web application for Asian carp catch data (Illinois River Catch Database)

Four types of Asian carp, an invasive fish species, are currently found in the United States: black, grass, silver, and bighead carps. These species are fast growing, prolific feeders that out-compete native fish species and drastically alter the natural ecosystems they invade. To prevent the spread of Asian carp into the Great Lakes, the multi-agency Asian...

Date published: January 6, 2021
Status: Active

Database and web application for Asian carp telemetry data (FishTracks)

Four types of Asian carp, an invasive fish species, are currently found in the United States: black, grass, silver, and bighead carps. These species are fast growing, prolific feeders that out-compete native fish species and drastically alter the natural ecosystems they invade. To prevent the spread of Asian carp into the Great Lakes, the multi-agency Asian...

Date published: May 29, 2020
Status: Active

Development of Sampling Protocols and Diagnostic Tools for Assessment of Freshwater Mussel Health

Assessing Impacts of Emerging and Established Diseases to Aquatic Ecosystems

The role of disease in freshwater mussel declines has been largely ignored due to the lack of appropriate diagnostic tools....

Contacts: Diane Waller
Date published: May 29, 2020
Status: Active

Development of a Broad Microarray Technology to Survey for Aquatic Pathogens

Assessing Impacts of Emerging and Established Diseases to Aquatic Ecosystems

The need to maintain healthy aquatic ecosystems and sustain healthy communities is greatly recognized. Aquatic pathogens pose a...

Contacts: Diane Waller
Date published: May 29, 2020
Status: Active

Assessing Impacts of Emerging and Established Diseases to Aquatic Ecosystems

Native freshwater mussels play a critical role in aquatic environments and are considered “ecosystem engineers” and indicators of water quality by constantly filtering water. Populations of native freshwater mussels have declined in recent years, and this decline has been attributed to factors such as habitat degradation, pollution, and invasive species, among others. The importance of these...

Contacts: Diane Waller
Date published: May 29, 2020
Status: Active

Investigation Into Mass Mussel Die-off Events

Assessing Impacts of Emerging and Established Diseases to Aquatic Ecosystems

The decline of native freshwater mussels has the potential to devastate aquatic communities. Although factors such as habitat...

Contacts: Diane Waller
Date published: May 29, 2020
Status: Active

Management Tools for Dreissenid Mussels

Dreissenid mussels have posed an aquatic invasive species challenge in the United States since their arrival in the Great Lakes in the 1980s. Zebra (Dreissena polymorpha) and Quagga (D. bugensis) mussels are filter feeders with high reproductive capacity. Their behaviors result in altered nutrient cycles, shifts in trophic structures, and extirpation of some native species in...

Contacts: Diane Waller
Date published: May 29, 2020
Status: Active

Development of Selective Control Tools

Management Tools for Dreissenid Mussels

Currently, dreissenid mussel populations are spreading and becoming a growing problem in many aquatic systems, making it important to find management techniques that are selective for the invasive...

Contacts: Diane Waller
Date published: May 29, 2020
Status: Active

Evaluation of Carbon Dioxide to Control Dreissenid Mussels

Management Tools for Dreissenid Mussels

Carbon dioxide (CO2) has been suggested as a chemical control for a variety of invasive aquatic organisms, including Asian Carp. USGS researchers and partners evaluated the efficacy of low CO...

Contacts: Diane Waller
Date published: May 29, 2020
Status: Active

Evaluation of Copper as a Control Agent for Invasive Mussels

Management Tools for Dreissenid Mussels

USGS researchers and partners conducted an experimental application of low dose copper, as EarthTecQZ, to a bay in Lake Minnetonka, Minnesota.  The veliger density and settlement were compared to that...

Contacts: Diane Waller
Date published: April 14, 2020
Status: Active

Nutrient Cycling in Aquatic Ecosystems

Nitrogen and phosphorus are plant essential nutrients that are currently in excess in many aquatic ecosystems due to runoff from urban and agricultural areas. In high amounts, these nutrients are detrimental to aquatic ecosystem health, because elevated nutrients promote excessive growth or “blooms” of algae and other nuisance species. Many species that cause blooms can produce toxins which...

Date published: April 14, 2020
Status: Active

Nutrient cycling in agricultural watersheds of the Great Lakes

Nutrient Cycling in Aquatic Ecosystems

Nutrients lost from agricultural areas in watersheds of the Great Lakes cause harmful algal blooms and hypoxia in some areas of the Great Lakes. Substantial efforts are being made in these watersheds to...