Title: The Nature Conservancy's Aquatic Invasive Species Program, Science Informing Management.
The Laurentian Great Lakes are one of the most heavily invaded freshwater ecosystems in the world. Food webs are dominated by non-native invasive species, ecosystem services and functions have been altered, and hundreds of millions of dollars are spent each year to manage and prevent invasive species impacts. The Nature Conservancy’s Great Lakes Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) program is a comprehensive set of science-based strategies that are meant to contribute to the shared regional goal of managing AIS at each phase in the invasion process. We will provide an overview of the portfolio of projects that we are working on to prevent novel species introductions, detect and respond to nascent introductions, and control existing populations of AIS. Particular attention will be given to our projects related to early detection survey design and implementation (including the collection and screening of environmental DNA for AIS surveillance) and control of established invasive species on native fish spawning reefs in northern Lake Michigan.