Aquatic Plant Research > Education and Outreach > Education and Outreach > Plant Information
Aquatic Plant Research
DNR Science Services researchers provide aquatic plant identification courses to interested groups to improve their plant identification skills as well as contribute to identification reference materials.
True, aquatic plants can be weedy, but they are more than just weeds! In fact, aquatic plants are more like complex underwater forests than an overgrown lawn. They play a number of roles in the lake ecosystem and provide services that benefit the lake itself as well as the animals and people living on and around it. They provide habitat and food for fishes, birds and bugs. They clear the water and oxygenate both water and sediment, supporting the life functions of fish and helping keep phosphorus, a common lake pollutant, from building up in the water. Aquatic plants help reduce algae blooms and the emergents growing along the edges of the lake can buffer pollutants that enter from the shoreline. Aquatic plants are often misunderstood, and part of the role of researchers at the DNR is to communicate with stakeholders about the value of this incredibly important community! One example of our efforts to share the benefits of aquatic plants is a session we did for a lecture series called Yahara 101.
Recognizing a need for classroom and hands on training on aquatic aquatic plant identification and ecology, DNR Science Services have conducted 18 aquatic plant workshops to diverse audiences at the Wisconsin Lakes Convention, UW's Kemp Research Station, and professional meetings such as the North American Lake Management Symposium and the Upper Midwest Invasive Species Conference. Teaching proper identification techniques will improve the quality of work conducted on aquatic plants statewide as well as increase the chance of early detection of invasive species. Workshops have been attended by local, regional, and national stakeholders and have received excellent feedback from attendees.
Recognizing a need for taxonomic revision to an existing aquatic aquatic plant identification field guide, DNR Science Services provided taxonomic expertise and revisions to update Through the Looking Glass…A Field Guide to Aquatic Plants. This field guide provides easily accessible information on the identification and ecology of Wisconsin's aquatic plant species, and an improved understanding of both native and non-native aquatic plants. This field guide is utilized locally, regionally, and nationally as a taxonomic guide to aquatic aquatic plant identification.