Invasive Species Compendium

Detailed coverage of invasive species threatening livelihoods and the environment worldwide

Abstract

Network connectivity of Minnesota waterbodies and implications for aquatic invasive species prevention.

Abstract

Connectivity between waterbodies influences the risk of aquatic invasive species (AIS) invasion. Understanding and characterizing the connectivity between waterbodies through high-risk pathways, such as recreational boats, is essential to develop economical and effective prevention intervention to control the spread of AIS. Fortunately, state and local watercraft inspection programs are collecting significant data that can be used to quantify boater connectivity. We created a series of predictive models to capture the patterns of boater movements across all lakes in Minnesota, USA. Informed by more than 1.3 million watercraft inspection surveys from 2014-2017, we simulated boater movements connecting 9182 lakes with a high degree of accuracy. Our predictive model accurately predicted 97.36% of the lake pairs known to be connected and predicted 91.01% of the lake pairs known not to be connected. Lakes with high degree and betweenness centrality were more likely to be infested with an AIS than lakes with low degree (p < 0.001) and centrality (p < 0.001). On average, infested lakes were connected to 1200 more lakes than uninfested lakes. In addition, boaters that visited infested lakes were more likely to visit other lakes, increasing the risk of AIS spread to uninfested lakes. The use of the simulated boater networks can be helpful for determining the risk of AIS invasion for each lake and for developing management tools to assist decision makers to develop intervention strategies.