Aquatic Plant Research > Invasives > Understanding Invasives > EWM Ecology
Aquatic Plant Research
By thoroughly understanding the basic ecology of Eurasian watermilfoil, DNR Science Services can assist agency staff and partners to effectively manage Wisconsin lakes.
Recognizing the need for a better scientific understanding of where hybrid watermilfoils (Eurasian and northern watermilfoil hybrids or Myriophyllum spicatum x sibiricum) are located on the landscape, DNR Science Services have conducted and coordinated extensive DNA genetic analysis on milfoil populations across the state. Existence of hybrid watermilfoils are a recently discovered phenomenon and are currently poorly understood. Wisconsin is an emerging leader in better understanding hybrid milfoil distribution, ecology and management.
DNR Science Services have conducted a number of studies designed to understand the invasive aquatic plant Eurasian watermilfoil. In order to communicate our findings to lake groups and managers, we created a handy factsheet describing common perceptions of eurasian watermilfoil and what our research actually tells us about the plant. The fact sheet covers natural year-to-year variation, the fact that EWM is rare in most of the lakes in which it occurs, its connection to native species, and the effects of strategic plant management.
An article in Wisconsin Natural Resources magazine describes DNR Science Services’ findings on Eurasian watermilfoil ecology and growth patterns. It covers the distribution of Eurasian watermilfoil across the state and the types of lakes in which it is commonly found. Lakes do not always become dominated with Eurasian watermilfoil once it gets into a lake; in fact Eurasian watermilfoil can remain in low abundance for years. Researchers found that lakes managed for Eurasian watermilfoil were not resulting in a lower abundance of Eurasian watermilfoil. These findings launched a 10-year study to track Eurasian watermilfoil over time and improve the effectiveness of Eurasian watermilfoil management.