Aquatic Invasive Species
Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) are in the news often and typically have a more significant impact on native plants and animals and their
habitats in larger rivers like the St. Louis River and its estuary, and on lakes and wetlands, than on smaller tributary streams. Adverse
impacts to native communities occur from direct competition for food and habitat, predation, and disease and also indirectly by altering
food chains and webs- which can dramatically affect water quality.
This issue can be confusing because of the many terms used to describe the “problem” species and the sensationalism used
by some media outlets when describing the newest Great Lakes Basin troublemaker.
Nevertheless, the introduction and spread of harmful exotic species continues to cause significant food web problems and indirectly water
quality problems in Minnesota and throughout the Great Lakes Basin.
The Minnesota DNR describes Invasive Species as:
Species that have been introduced, or moved, by human activities to a location where they do not naturally occur are
termed "exotic," "nonnative," "alien," and "nonindigenous." Nonnative species are
not necessarily harmful, in fact the majority have beneficial purposes. When nonnative species cause ecological or economic
problems, they are termed "invasive" or "harmful exotic species." Minnesota's natural resources are threatened
by invasive species such as the zebra mussel, Eurasian watermilfoil, purple loosestrife, gypsy moth, and garlic mustard. These species,
along with new invasive species, could be easily spread within the state if citizens, businesses, and visitors don't take necessary steps
to contain them.
Aquatic Animals Aquatic Plants
Other sources of information:
Lake Superior Binational Forum
Links to agencies and organizations that developed extensive resources to prevent the spread of invasive species in the Lake Superior basin.
Can you identify the invader from this list?
Eurasian Watermilfoil, zebra mussels, Purple Loosestrife, lamprey, Charcarodon megalodon, Eurasian ruffe, Tahoe Tessie,
Audrey II, Davy Jones, spiny water fleas, Amazon lagoon creature, earthworm, curly leaf pondweed