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Advancing Early Detection of Ballast-mediated Invaders in the Great Lakes

Year Awarded: 2020
Awarded: $648,000
Team Leader:  Pennsylvania State University – Erie

This project will build on findings supported by a project design award from 2018. The team will make early detection of aquatic invasive species (AIS) both more economical and practical and significantly improve the prospects for prevention and containment of AIS in the Great Lakes.

Existing detection methods for target invasive organisms are time-consuming and expensive. Consequently, new colonies of AIS are often only detected after they are well-established. The project team will develop “smoke detectors” for AIS – new protocols for sampling and analysis that are inexpensive, rapid, and easy to use. They will use methods that detect the genetic material of target organisms in Great Lakes harbors and determine whether its presence indicates a reproducing colony of that organism. The team will “package” the products of their work so state resource managers and others that lead AIS management activities can quickly adopt them.