How Many Are Where? Rethinking the Spread of Invasive Species

Nov 4, 2014

A UW Madison researcher says close to forty percent of the state’s lakes could contain invasive species. 

According to the Wisconsin DNR, that figure is currently documented at less than ten percent. 

But Jake Vander Zanden of the UW Madison’s Center for Limnology says his team surveyed a random sample of Wisconsin lakes to estimate how many might be affected by invasive species statewide, and came up with a much higher number. 

“When we went out and tried to really estimate how widespread they were, we found that many of these invasive species were far more widespread than these records would reveal.  And that stems from the fact that many of these lakes don’t get surveyed, or the invasive species might be there, but they don’t get reported or they don’t get noticed.”

But he also says that almost 40 percent figure…may not be as bad as it sounds, because in some lakes, invasives could be having a minimal impact.  WXPR’s Natalie Jablonski spoke with Vander Zanden to find out more about what the numbers mean. 

Jake Vander Zanden spoke at a recent conference on Science in the Northwoods.