University of Windsor invasive species research centre closes
Another national research group based at the University of Windsor is closing because it's run out of federal funding.
The Canadian Aquatic Invasive Species Network will wind down at the end of this week.
AUTO21, an automotive research centre, was forced to close in March.
The Canadian Aquatic Invasive Species Network was established 10 years ago. It has included 35 faculty across Canada, including eight professors in Windsor.
The former Conservative federal government originally established the network for a five-year term in 2006. It's goal was to identify and quantify the pathways by which aquatic invasive species enter Canada.
In 2011, the network focused on new research, including:
- Early detection.
- Rapid response.
- Invasive species as part of multiple aquatic stressors.Reducing uncertainty in prediction and management of aquatic invasive species.
Scientific director Hugh MacIsaac told CBC's Windsor Morning there is still much work to do in this field in order to protect the Great Lakes from Asian carp and invasive plants.
"My biggest concern is looking at the pond and aquarium trade. A lot of the species that are sold in these markets are unregulated, and we know that some of the ones that are being sold are backyard plants called water lettuce and water hyacinth. These are tropical plants from Brazil. They shouldn't be in the Great Lakes," he said. "They shouldn't survive in the Great Lakes, but we know that we get recurring populations of these occurring out near Tilbury, out in some of the creeks out there."
MacIsaac said it's "kind of sad" this network is ending.
"I'm often told by colleagues in other countries that they wished their own country took such an ordered and thorough approach to invasive species management," MacIsaac said.
The university is proposing a new research network focused on the Great Lakes.
He estimates it has a "50-50" chance of getting government funding.
The Canadian Aquatic Invasive Species Network will finish its five-year term this week with its final conference hosted at the University of Windsor.
James Carlton, professor emeritus of marine sciences at Williams College, is one of the speakers. He praised the research network in a news release.
"The biggest contribution of CAISN has been to substantially contribute to and enhance our understanding of the 'big picture' of the history, science, and policy of bio-invasions by means of a very impressive record of publications and training," he said.