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Aquatic Nuisance Species Initiative (ANSI)

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Aquatic Nuisance Species Initiative

Initiative Director:  David H. Wahl,  Kaskaskia Biological Station, Illinois Natural History Survey

Associate Director:  Sergiusz J Czesny,  Lake Michigan Biological Station, Illinois Natural History Survey

Assistant Director:  Matthew J Diana,  Ridge Lake Biological Station, Illinois Natural History Survey


The Aquatic Nuisance Species Initiative is a collaboration of researchers at the Illinois Natural History Survey with projects investigating invasive species. The goal is to provide public education and outreach regarding current research related to aquatic invasive species being conducted in Illinois and Nation wide. We are committed to preventing the spread of invasive species and provide information and links to resources on how the public can aid in preventing their spread.

Aquatic Nuisance Species of Illinois

Nuisance species are organisms that are introduced to a water body that are not naturally found there and have negative interactions with native species. They are also commonly referred to as invasive species and can negatively affect native species in a number of ways. Illinois has a number of aquatic invasive species due to its connection to both the Great Lakes and the Mississippi River, which are common pathways for invasive species introduction. Invasive species are also transported by people. Fish are commonly introduced through bait buckets, illegal stocking, or accidental release from aquaculture ponds. Sometimes they are introduced for management reasons or to create a fishery as was done with common carp and salmon species. Invasive plants can be easily spread on boats and trailers that are launched on multiple lakes. There are also invasive zooplankton and invertebrates that are transported through water exchanges between systems or can even be moved by birds or wildlife.

ANSI Invasive Species Research

Invasive species are consistently identified as one of the most important environmental issues  throughout the US and the world.  A long list of species have been accidently and purposefully introduced into North America with often devastating effects. Illinois has recently come to the forefront on these issues in aquatic environments with the movement of Asian Carp into our waters.  First introduced in the lower Mississippi River these fish have moved progressively upstream such that they are now threatening the Great Lakes. These fish pose a significant risk to the multibillion dollar Great Lakes Ecosystem, including fishing, commercial and tourism industries and have attracted national and international interest.  Proposals have been made to disconnect the Great Lakes and Illinois waterways with significant economic impacts.

Asian Carp Research

Catch rates and cost effectiveness of entrapment gears for Asian carp: a comparison of pound nets, hoop nets, and fyke nets in backwater lakes of the Illinois River.

Evaluation of Gear Efficiency and Asian Carp Detectability

Larval Fish / Productivity Monitoring in the Illinois Waterway

Unconventional Gear Development

Impacts of Invasive Asian Carps on Native Food Webs

Understanding the Effects of Asian Carp on Native Fishes


Great Lakes Research

Outreach and Education

Evaluating the Effectiveness of an Electric Dispersal Barrier

Round Goby effects on Zebra Mussels

Links to Resources

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant


Illinois Aquatic Nuisance Species Program IISG


USGS - science for a changing world



Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee

Asian Carp Regional Coordinating Committee


Asian Carp Task Force


ANS Task Force

Illinois Natural History Survey

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Champaign, IL 61820

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