Aquatic ecosystems include some of the most imperiled species in the United States and invasive species are the second leading contributor to this problem. Research plays a critical role in guiding effective, science-based monitoring and management of aquatic invasive species. Below is a short description of ongoing and past research projects funded by Texas Parks and Wildlife Department. For more information on the invasive species studied in these projects and other aquatic invasive species in Texas, visit texasinvasives.org.
The application period is closed for the FY22-23 AIS Research Grants. Please check back here or on the TPWD grants page in Spring 2023 (approximately April 1st) for the next request for proposals for FY24-25.
Ongoing Aquatic Invasive Species Research
Near real-time detection and monitoring of invasive mussel species in Texas waterways
Early detection of zebra mussel veliger larvae requires microscopic analysis of plankton samples that can be time consuming and delay results. This project seeks to test a novel and efficient process to more quickly detect and enumerate zebra mussel veligers, refine the technology, and explore spatiotemporal variability of veliger presence and density over time in the study areas. The study will also implement this technology to augment early detection monitoring in Texas.
Assessing the Population Dynamics and Body Condition of Zebra Mussels Within and Between Two Texas Water Bodies with Different Population Trajectories: Lakes Belton and Stillhouse Hollow
Long-term studies have indicated that some zebra mussel populations in Texas decline in density and growth rates over time, whereas others do not. This study seeks to better understand population dynamics in two lakes with different population trends in conjunction with food availability and water quality parameters. This study will evaluate potential explanations for population declines that will have implications for predicting ecological and economic impacts of zebra mussels in infested waters and aid in guiding mitigation strategies.
Using remote sensing to map Arundo donax populations in Native Fish Conservation Areas throughout Texas to better understand causal factors of invasion and set management priorities
Texas State University
Giant reed (Arundo donax) is a highly problematic invader of rivers and creeksides with significant impacts on both riparian and aquatic habitats and efforts to manage this species are ongoing in the Hill Country. This study will test and develop the use of remote sensing technology to identify infested areas and areas where infestation is increasing as well as examining landscape factors influencing infestations and identify areas at high risk of impacts. This technology will be applied to Native Fish Conservation Areas across the state to aid in prioritizing areas for future control efforts.
Assessing abundance, sex ratio, and space use by suckermouth armored catfish to enhance control efforts
Texas A&M University; Texas State University
Non-native suckermouth armored catfish compete with native species, alter food webs, and cause habitat degradation through burrowing into banks, and efforts to remove these invasive fish are underway in the San Marcos River to protect imperiled species. This study seeks to assess seasonal abundance of this species in the San Marcos River as well as assess movement and population sex ratios and test potential new control augmentation techniques. Results of this study will aid in guiding and enhancing the efforts of ongoing removal efforts.