UWindsor ecologist to lead national invasive species team

$6.5 million in new federal funding for 28-member research network

WINDSOR, ON, Feb. 11 /CNW/ - A University of Windsor ecologist will lead a $6.5 million network of some of the nation's top scientists, all devoted to finding solutions to solve the growing problem of aquatic invasive species in Canada's rivers, lakes and coastal waters.

The Natural Sciences and Engineering Research Council's (NSERC) Canadian Aquatic Invasive Species Network II (CAISN II) will be led by Hugh MacIsaac, a professor at UWindsor's Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research (GLIER).  The project will be funded by NSERC, in partnership with Fisheries and Oceans Canada and Transport Canada. This funding allows for CAISN's second phase, the first of which began in 2006.

"Invasive species are of concern in the Canadian north, which is primed for new invasions as shipping traffic increases and climate warming renders Arctic habitats more suitable for invaders," said Dr. MacIsaac. "Our team thanks NSERC for this funding as it helps us to better manage and improve the delicate balance of our aquatic ecosystems."

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) are animals or plants whose introduction to a new ecosystem can render it inhospitable to native species. Sea lamprey, zebra mussels, round gobies and the spiny water flea have already devastated some native fish species and fisheries in Canada, while the threat of the Asian carp may pose a significant threat to the Great Lakes. Annually, the problem of Aquatic Invasive Species is responsible for billions of dollars in lost revenue and control measures. Working in conjunction with partners, primarily shipping companies and government agencies, this network will develop innovative early detection technology and rapid response capabilities that will help identify and manage AIS in marine and freshwater habitats.  Projects also will address interactions between stressors including calcium depletion in inland lakes, nutrient enrichment of lakes and estuaries, and climate change in lake, river and coastal marine ecosystems across Canada.

Suzanne Fortier, President of NSERC said, "Networks like CAISN II demonstrate that NSERC's community has risen to the challenge and is putting the Government of Canada's science and technology strategy to work. Canada's leading researchers have identified real-world challenges and are setting about to make Canada a safer and stronger place to live."

The CAISN II network will be headquartered at the University of Windsor and will include 28 scientists at 11 Canadian universities.

Dr. Alan Wildeman, President of the University of Windsor said, "Dr. Hugh MacIsaac and his team of scientists across the network are an excellent example of how Canadian researchers are applying their expertise to issues facing our country's, and the world's, aquatic resources.  The University of Windsor congratulates all of the award recipients, and we thank NSERC for their confidence in our scientists and their support of the network."

Founded in 1963, the University of Windsor has close to 16,000 full-time and part-time students. The University of Windsor's mission is to enable people to make a better world through education, scholarship, research and engagement. www.uwindsor.ca

SOURCE University of Windsor

For further information:

Stephen Fields
Communications Officer, Research
Public Affairs and Communications
University of Windsor
519-253-3000 ext. 4045
stfields@uwindsor.ca

Matthew Daley
Communications Officer
Canadian Aquatic Invasive Species Network (CAISN)
Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research (GLIER)
Public Affairs and Communications
University of Windsor
519-253-3000 ext. 3755
mdaley@uwindsor.ca


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