Primary Advisor/Dissertation Chair
Secondary Advisor/Reader One
This research question addressed the importance of invasive species education in the Midwest Great Lakes Regions. Invasive species threaten most ecosystems around the world and can lead to decreasing biodiversity and even the extinction of native species. Humans are one of the largest vectors responsible for the transportation of invasive species. This research focused on providing evidence of the negative impact aquatic invasive species can have on native fish populations. Fish population data was collected using gill nets in the East Metro Area of the Twin Cities in Minnesota in the 2018 field season. This data was compared to Minnesota’s Department of Natural Resources historical data to analyze native fish populations of northern pike, walleye, and yellow perch prior to aquatic invasive species establishment. Results showed that aquatic invasive plant species (like Eurasian watermilfoil) do not correlate as strongly as aquatic invertebrate invasive species (like zebra mussels) to decreasing fish populations. These observations reflect the native fish’s adaptability to new aquatic vegetation when native vegetation is limited, leading to stable or increasing populations after an aquatic plant invasion. As expected, decreasing fish populations were observed for most species after zebra mussel invasions, likely due to increased competition for resources. This data can be used to promote environmental education lesson plans about freshwater ecology and how invasive species pose a threat to native species and their ecosystems. It should be used to draw more attention from water recreationalists and anglers to increase awareness and preventative measures taken when interacting with invasive species.
Environmental Studies, Science
Crofts, Alexandra, "Why Is Invasive Species Education Important" (2018). School of Education and Leadership Student Capstone Theses and Dissertations. 4449.
School of Education Student Capstone Theses and Dissertations