UNIVERSITY OF FLORIDA: Using pathogens to control impacts of invasive crayfish


The University of Florida is sponsoring a project to complete an aquatic invasive species research study with the following goals: 1) Identify and characterize pathogens in native and invasive crayfish that are present and/or pose an invasion threat to Wisconsin; 2) Analyze trends across lakes where rusty crayfish have invaded and become extremely abundant, lakes where they have not become abundant, and lakes where their abundance has recently declined; 3) Evaluate the hypothesis that pathogens are more common in lakes where rusty crayfish densities remain low, restricting their population growth and promoting coexistence between species; 4) Evaluate whether pathogens identified can be transmitted to each crayfish species by conducting transmission, survival, and behavioral laboratory experiments; 5) Identify pathogens in red swamp crayfish collected from surrounding states and suppliers to assess risks of this species in Wisconsin. Project deliverables include: Crayfish trapping data and trapping effort in each lake. Pathogen profile screening data and analysis for crayfish species (rusty, virile, northern clearwater crayfish, and red swamp crayfish) collected from each lake or source. Pathogen screening data will include histopathology, as well as molecular diagnostics, targeted electron microscopy and/or metagenomics. Statistical analysis of data (ANOVA & PERMANOVA) focusing on pathogen richness, prevalence, and composition within species and between single and multi-species lakes and sources. Analysis of data on the transmission success and effects of the pathogens tested during laboratory experiments on survival and behavior in each crayfish species. Specific project conditions: Quarterly reports and a final report summarizing these findings will be submitted to WDNR. WDNR will meet with sponsor periodically during project to discuss progress on deliverables and overall project goals.

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