Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Shane Stone on 09-12-2010

Review Panel: Brandon Braxton, Andrew Van Orden, Shane Stone,Katherine Ferguson

Rand proposes to study the potential toxicity of lionfish meat to humans. His view is that since no viable control options have been found, it is best to embrace the potential of lionfish as a food source and the possibility of taking enough to slow population growth. Because of the risk of toxic chemicals such as PCBs accumulating in the fat of the lionfish, the study proposes to collect samples of fish from several areas and test for the presence of these chemicals to determine if lionfish is safe for consumption according to FDA standards.

Reinsvold proposes to study the potential of grouper predation to control the lionfish population in the Caribbean. If this is successful, it will open the possibility of augmentative biocontrol for the lionfish. The study will take place in several microcosm environments within a lab that manipulate the presence of groupers, lionfish, and native species. The results of the study are expected to provide a further direction for study in regards to lionfish control, either towards augmentative biocontrol or in a new direction.

Blaser also proposes to study the potential of augmentative biocontrol using groupers. The study will include observation of the natural dynamics of lionfish and grouper populations on a reef and also manipulate the proportion of lionfish and grouper on a separate reef. He expects to be able to provide insight on the potential of augmentative biocontrol for controlling the lionfish.

From studies lionfish, it was been concluded that the lionfish population is not going to be decreasing anytime soon. Therefore, a proposal that suggests methods to try and reduce the population is important. Our panel recommends that a full proposal be solicited from Reinsvold to study the potential of grouper predation on lionfish. This study seems to be the most worthwhile option for combating the lionfish and is also well structured. While Blaser proposes to study the same option of augmentative biocontrol, is not as simple and has potential for error since it is taking place on an actual coral reef where it would be nearly impossible to control the amount of fish in the area. Our panel also feels that augmentative biocontrol has a greater chance of success to control the lionfish than commercial fishing and consumption if the fish in Rand’s study prove to be safe to eat.  Furthermore, Reinsvold’s suggestion to utilize augmentative biocontrol makes his study more favorable to fund. Through augmentative biocontrol, a native species is increased rather than introducing a new species into an already invaded ecosystem.

Unfortunately, we would not accept the study as it is now because it is in need of improvement. In terms of the prose, Reinsvold’s need to emphasize the beauty of the reefs is not really necessary plus most scientists want to preserve reef ecosystems not because of aesthetic beauty, but because of its scientific usefulness. Also, the question could be worded clearer. It is concise and to the point, but adding a little to it could improve the clarity of the paper as a whole. In addition, an explanation of why this method of eliminating the lionfish is plausible would be better in persuading readers to give funds to the effort. Lastly, we are not convinced that if the biocontrol was unsuccessful simply increasing fishing permits could have a serious impact on reversing the introduction of the groupers. For the actual study, we suggest a change of the methods. We suggest two additional treatments. One treatment will have Tiger groupers, lionfish, and native fish, and one that will have Nassau groupers, lionfish, and native fish. This way, he will be able to compare feeding rates when the biocontrol agents have a choice in feeding. The first four treatments do not reflect actual scenarios, but do provide important data. The two suggested treatments, in addition to current “Treatment 4”, reflect real life. These changes would improve Reinsvold’s proposal and improve his chances of receiving funding.

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Cole Arora on 09-12-2010

Review Panel: Steven Blaser, Max Castillo, Cole Arora, Joshua McGrath.

Proposal (I):  Zhou, Mo.  2010.  “Comprehensive Prediction on Asian Carp Invasion:  A Pre-Proposal.”

Proposal (I) (Zhou) sought to implement a trans-continental analysis concerning the vulnerability of rivers and waterways to invasion by Asian carp.  The motivation behind the study is to assist in Asian carp invasion prediction, which would in turn more readily allow for prevention and detection programs.  Water systems surveys and data collection will not be conducted in situ, but rather, current literature, local information and the opinions and findings of current experts in the field will be compiled and reviewed by the author and collaborators.  The overarching, apparent goal is to form a comprehensive, preliminary risk assessment that can be updated as necessary as more information is gleaned.

Proposal (II):  Starnes, Abby.  2010.  “Invasive Bullfrog Transmission of Chytrid Fungus to Red-Legged Frogs.”

Proposal (II) (Starnes) focuses on the important role that chytrid fungus plays in the invasion mechanism of bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana).  The author makes the hypothesis that, because transmission of the fungus from bullfrogs to other anuran species has been well-documented, the possibility for that event to occur between bullfrogs and a specific native species – red-legged frogs (Rana aurora) is a logical research question.  Testing this hypothesis involves exposure of healthy red-legged frogs to bullfrogs of varying condition (e.g. infected, not infected) and observing the transmittance of the pathogen.  The hope of the study is to illuminate a potential cause of damage that bullfrogs initiate as a result of invasion, and to then concentrate on alleviating that damage source, rather than on widespread eradication of the species.

Proposal (III):  Tully, Daniel.  2010.  “The Effects of the Poison Rotenone on Rivers when used to Eradicate an Invasive Species.”

Proposal (III) (Tully) explores the possibility of applying poison – specifically, rotenone – to rivers as a means to eradicate invasive northern snakehead (Channa argus).  The author references that a major disincentive from using the poison previously had been the fact that it incurs mortality both in the invasive species as well as the native species.  He introduces the idea of combining the extremely effective rotenone with a decomposition catalyst, potassium permanganate, in order to reduce the long-term effects of lingering rotenone in river systems.  The proposed study involves extensive pre-test initiatives, including such things as removal of a control group of several thousand fish via electrofishing to be reintroduced later on, a week-long application of rotenone, followed by a five-year-long observation period on the effects of rotenone application (with the potassium permanganate compound) in the long term.

Proposal (IV):  Arcia-Ramos, Jania.  2010.  “Public Awareness of Mute Swans is Key to Legislation Support.”

Proposal (IV) (Arcia-Ramos) revolves around different approaches that could be taken to recruit public support for control of invasive species, specifically the mute swan (Cygnus olor).  The author cites the lack of public support for invasion control as a main reason why roadblocks to stricter control exist in the political arena.  In fact, the author claims that a public that is generally opposed to eradication of an invasive species can actually assist the further establishment of that species (through misinformed advocacy).  Thus, a major component of the study is to test the effectiveness of different approaches for providing invasive species education to the general public.  Pre- and post-test surveys will establish baseline comparison with results, and individual tests involve pamphlet distribution and publishing articles in media.  Treatments differ in terms of the frequency of distribution or publication.




The panel recommends funding to be directed towards the proposal of Starnes.  The impetus behind her planned experiment is well-conceived; the methodology of the planned tests (the experimental design) is logical, comprehensive, and testable; and the study in general is not only novel but applicable to anuran-bullfrog interactions in general.  Thorough background research was conducted concerning the pathogen, and we feel confident that her study will generate statistically significant results.  Moreover she also demonstrates proper perspective, in that identification of pathogen transmittance could help concentrate control efforts – the pathogen could serve as a focal point to unify control approaches.  Small issues found with the proposal involve the substitution of pertinent information (specifically, how test bullfrogs will be infected with the pathogen) with an unelaborated-upon reference to the work of another scientist, though the missing information does not detract from the general goal of the study.

We also, as a panel, recommend the revision and re-submission of the proposal of Zhou.  We agree that a unification of data concerning the proliferation capacity of Asian carp is needed, and legislative efforts to combat the species’ expansion would be facilitated, the proposal – involving only a collection of current primary literature – would still be bounded to the realm of scientific literature, and be of use only to other scientists and resource managers.  That is, in order to increase political awareness of Asian carp invasion, perhaps what would be of greater general utility is a translation of the current scientific knowledge on the carp species in terms that policy-makers and legislators can understand.  Presentation of the findings to congress and in hearings at the state and local levels would have a much larger reach, than would publication of a literary review.

The major fault holding back our decision to fund the proposal of Arcia-Ramos – an otherwise exemplary effort to quantify the invasive species information processing of the public – was the high sensitivity of her study to bias as a result of subjective sampling measures.  Because the author – highly motivated to persuade the public in favor of invasive species control – has a personal stake in the experiment, the very language used to write the pre- and post-experiment surveys could slant any findings and render the baseline data collected from them questionable.  A way to correct for this could be to hire a third party to actually draft the surveys; in this way objectivity might be attained.  But even working under the assumption that the exact reflection of public opinion is attained through the surveys, another problem exists.  The author explicitly states that the test mediums are being directed toward an audience that “feel more strongly about the issue” compared to others lacking exposure to mute swans.  Thus, only those citizens who actually want to observe the mute swans (because of their beauty, say) would be present at the sites where the pamphlets supporting their eradication are being distributed; in other words, the pamphlets advocating for removal of mute swans are given to those who are the most opposed to the information presented to them.  Lastly, publication of stories in media, while it would certainly have an encompassing effect due to the medium’s omnipresence, is not feasible.  Specifically, local public media actually have to want to publish or broadcast the work.  There is no incentive for them to put forth ideas that go against the general grain of public consensus.  As a result, the only alternative would be publication in the form of scientific papers, which the general public do not normally read.  Revision of distribution mechanisms of the information could be a potential solution to the problem.

Similarly, Tully’s proposal is well-presented and well-conceived, but there exist inherent discrepancies that cause us to favor the proposal of Starnes.  Beginning with an anecdote, the overage of the current status on rotenone and control of invasive northern snakehead was quite strong.  However, the novel aspect of the study – combining rotenone with potassium permanganate – was presented without any citation, indicating that the idea of the compound’s efficacy came from the knowledge and past experience of the author; its use as a catalyst for the decomposition of rotenone must be firmly established in order to assuage our fears that the permanganate will do its job.   Second, the logistical ramifications of the five-year study are astronomical, and thus we fear for the experiment’s testability.  Even using a barge equipped with electrofishing equipment, the removal of several thousand fish is not an inexpensive undertaking – much less the daily electrofishing during the sampling time and the twice-daily water testing throughout the entire experiment.  Because no particular reason for the five-year study is given, we recommend shortening the duration of the study.  Thirdly, and most contributory to our decision to decline grant funding, is a flaw in the experimental design.  As written, the author plans to apply rotenone poison for a week; subsequently, if a water test indicates lingering rotenone, the potassium permanganate will then be added to break it down completely.  This came across as an afterthought – if the amount of time that the northern snakehead were exposed to the rotenone before the permanganate application was sufficient to kill them, it would also be sufficient to kill all other natives (unless snakehead are affected to a greater extent, which was not specified).  In this way, the permanganate serves no purpose, and actually does not play a role in the experiment in the short-term.  Only in long-term observation of how the fish that were removed fare in the ecosystem can the effects of potassium permanganate actually be used (but by then it is too late for the natives that were not removed).  The rub of the problem is that, if rotenone and permanganate were to be simultaneously added, the latter would decrease the effectiveness of the former, and in all likelihood 100 % eradication would not be achieved.  Revision of experimental design is necessary before approval can be given.

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Michael Shaughnessy on 08-12-2010

McGrath will observe the predator-prey relationship between the invasive American bullfrog (Rana catesbeiana) and native frogs of the western United States.  Plastic tanks will be used to monitor 4 native frog species and determine if the American bullfrog has a preference of size or species.  With the role of the American bullfrog more clearly understood, high-risk areas can be determined and control techniques can be implemented in those areas.

Arora proposes an experiment to explore one method of delaying cane toad (Bufo marinus) proliferation in invaded areas. This experiment involves using negative environmental stresses (including parasites and genetically modified male toads) to stem cane toad invasion rates. The purpose of Arora’s research is to find a means of delaying cane toad spread while research continues toward reversing cane toad invasion and damage.

Braxton’s pre-proposal focuses on whether meat ants can control the spread of the cane toad population in Australia. The study will also examine whether meat ants are harmful to native animals (especially native frogs). Different numbers of meat ants will be placed in various locations, and the resulting number of dead cane toads will be recorded and observed. If the meat ants can sustain themselves in the new environment and decrease cane toad population, they would be a help to the ecosystem in Australia.

Ferguson’s study will discuss whether the presence of submerged vegetation such as hydrilla increases the reproductive success of the northern snakehead. Pairs of northern snakeheads will be placed in habitats with and without vegetation to observe the success rate of reproduction. If this rate is significantly lower in the habitats without vegetation, it will be concluded that the nest plays a crucial role in the reproduction process. Therefore, the results of the study will help to evaluate the effectiveness of controlling northern snakehead by means of controlling hydrilla.

Our Committee has selected Katie Ferguson’s “Reproductive success of northern snakeheads with and without vegetation” to solicit a full proposal to our committee. As of now, the most effective way to eradicate, or at the very least control, the northern snakehead has been by poisoning the bodies of water that they have invaded. However, such an action kills all the species in the water. Ferguson proposes a new, significantly less destructive method of eradicating the northern snakehead. If Ferguson is able to conduct the tests needed to evaluate the question outlined in the Pre-Proposal and the results yield a favorable outcome, the way ecologists attempt to eradicate the northern snakehead could fundamentally change, for the better. This proposed method would solely target the northern snakehead and for the most part leave the native species unharmed, which is far better outcome than when poisons are used.

The one concern our committee has about your pre-proposal is that it will be conducted in a laboratory. There are many factors that go into successful reproduction in the wild, and many of these factors cannot be replicated in the laboratory. With that in mind, we recommend that in your full proposal you detail the ways in which you will make sure the test conditions closely mimic those found in the wild. We look forward to reading your full proposal in the near future.

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Kyle Rand on 08-12-2010

Review Panel: Kyle Rand, Mike DiNunzio, Russell Buescher, Tyler Lacy

Proposal #1 (King) creates a method of determining whether an environment will be suitable for the mitten crab based on ecological data. The author plans to first compare temperature and salinity against crustacean population density using remote sensing probes, then recreate a range of these conditions within the lab to determine their effect. Based on this information, the author hopes to be able to create a extrapolative model that will be able to determine an areas vulnerability to mitten crab invasion.

Proposal #2 (Shaughnessy) plans to evaluate the effectiveness of using the native blue crab as a biocontrol agent for the European green crab. The experiment will involve monitoring two environments: one on the Chesapeake Bay, an area home to both species, and one in Massachusetts, an area home to only European green crab with introduced blue crab species. The populations of each species and the native fauna will be recorded every month over a yearlong period.

Proposal #3 (Ferguson) focuses on the potential use of Microphallus sp as a biocontrol mechanism for Potamopyrgus antipodarum in the Great Lakes.  The purpose of her experiment is to both evaluate the effectiveness of Microphallus as biocontrol, and to ensure that its introduction into the Great Lakes will not cause a new invasive species problem.

Proposal #4 (Cefaro) focuses on the analysis of the possible effects that the spiny water flea has on the Great Lakes. He plans to mimic his study on previous studies to validate what it is negatively affecting the ecosystem of the lake.

Our review panel recommends funding be used for Ferguson’s proposal.  She demonstrates extensive knowledge of the problem of the New Zealand mud snail, as well as the possible negative side effects of using other species for biocontrol.  However, she has sound research methods that seeks to evaluate the effectiveness of Microphallus as biocontrol, all the while also measuring the effect of Microphallus on other species in the Great Lakes.  Her understanding of the issues are shown by this two-fold research approach, and the experimental design will certainly produce outcomes relevant to understanding how to eliminate the New Zealand mud snail.

As a panel, we chose Ferguson’s proposal over the others because her methodology accurately addresses the issue presented by the New Zealand mud snail, and the anticipated outcomes have strong future implications towards this specie’s elimination.  While King’s proposal addresses a pressing issue about the Chinese mitten crab, key parts of this proposal’s methodology are excluded, and it fails to explain how a predictive model will ultimately help to control the crab.   Similarly, the research question detailed by Shaughnessy is relevant to the control of the blue crab, but we would recommend including both male and female blue crabs in the Massachusetts study to simulate normal conditions.  Also, he lacks a complete explanation of the future outcomes of the Massachusetts population of European green crab if the blue crab is shown to be effective as a biocontrol agent.   Meanwhile, though Cefaro’s ideas are good, his paper is not presented in a way that is easily understood and the outcomes of his project seem less beneficial than the other proposals.  Ultimately, Ferguson’s strength in fully explaining her logic, methods, and anticipated results are why we chose her proposal over the others.

Review Panel: Natalie Ferguson, Stefan Cafaro, and Brianca King

Bryan Lockwood, “The Efficiency of UV Disinfection and Crumb Rubber Filtration on the Invasive Species Content in Ballast Water”

Lockwood’s pre-proposal addresses the problem of the transfer of aquatic invasive species through ballast water. Lockwood suggests the use of UV radiation and crumb filtering to decontaminate the ballast water effectively. He will test the success of these treatments through the use of tanks receiving three separate treatments and one control.

Michael Di Nunzio, “Assessing the Risks Posed by the Chinese Mitten Crab”

In this pre-proposal, Di Nunzio discusses the possible correlation between mitten crab invasion and infrastructure damage in San Francisco. He furthers this exploration to address the possibility of an invasion in other areas with important infrastructure. He proposes to test these questions through a study similar to Rudnick et al. (2000).

Caitlin O’Neill, Determining the Efficiency of Ballast Water Exchange in Reducing Species Spread

O’Neill proposes to study the effectiveness of removing invasive species in the filtering of ballast water during an exchange. O’Neill will study this by recording the percentages and types of species filtered out from the ballast water in the boats San Francisco bay. The exchange method, voyage conditions, size of boats, and other factors will be accounted for in her study.

We as the review panel have chosen to fund O’Neill’s study of ballast water in San Francisco bay. We determined our money would be best invested in this project because the outcomes expected from this project are most beneficial to the science community as well as society as a whole. O’Neill also thoroughly supported the necessity for proper ballast water filtration. We also feel that this study can be effective in convincing the government to further regulate control of ballast water exchange. This pre-proposal was chosen over the other two because O’Neill convinced us of the importance of this issue. For instance, Lockwood’s pre-proposal was not chosen because we did not feel he adequately supported the significance of ballast water treatment. The pre-proposal was brief, leaving room for elaboration. He also had several grammatical errors indicating the proposal should be proof-read. Di Nunzio’s pre-proposal was strong, however, we felt his study would not benefit the scientific community as much as O’Neill’s. Although San Francisco is an area heavily invaded by foreign species , Di Nunzio only focused on mitten crabs. O’Neill’s study will encompass all invasions from ballast water, which includes mitten crabs.

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Albert Chen on 08-12-2010

Biological Control: The best way to end the Pterois volitans invasion?

In Shane Stone’s preproposal, he is trying to see if Tiger grouper can act as an agent for biological control to hunt Red Lionfish.  He hopes that these fish will hunt on lionfish similar to Blue Spotted cornetfish, which eat lionfish in their native habitats. He will conduct this expermint by placing lionfish, tiger grouper, and blue spotted cornetfish in tanks, comparing how tiger grouper feed on lionfish relative to blue spotted cornetfish.

Quagga Mussels vs. Zebra Mussels, which species is more dangerous to Lake Erie?

The goal of this study is to find out whether the Quaga Mussle can outcompete the Zebra Mussle, as both invasive species have skyrocketed in numbers and seem to fill the same niche. To test this, the mussels’ abilities to consume phytoplankton are measured. The mussels are put in a mesocosm to observe their interaction. The results of this still will allow scientists to divert their attention to the more troublesome species.

Efficiently Trapping Wild Nutria to Control Invasive Populations

The nutria is an invasive rodent found throughout wetlands in the United States. They cause significant damage to the wetlands through destruction of vegetation. There are various methods to controlling nutria populations. There are various ways to capture nutria using various baits in various traps. This experiment combines the most effective bait with the most effective trap to see if they work cohesively. Overall, it is a good experimental set-up. It is an important step that should be taken before a large scale version is initiated. In terms of feedback, reread through the paper and reword sentences that seem awkwardly phrased.

The Nutria Problem: How it can be reduced through the use of incentives for hunters and trappers

We would give the funding to Nutria1 by Braxton Deaver because he had the most effective pre-proposal. In his introduction, he covered every aspect of the Nutria, including its detrimental impact to humans, showing the importance of his research project.  Also, by having information on the previous experiments that have used incentives, he shows that his experiment will be effective.  The experimental set up (methodology) was clear, and he had only minor errors in prose and grammar.

He went into full detail as to the detrimental impacts of the nutria animal.  He really made it feel like his experiment was important and demanded the most attention out of any of the other pre-proposals.  While all experiments seemed important, Braxton did the best job of emphasizing the importance of his experiment.  This comes from the depth of his rationale which was about twice as long as any of the other rationales.  But it was all important information and that is why we chose to give funding to Braxton Deaver.

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Cecile Diaz on 08-12-2010

Efficacy of a Fugal Pathogen and Biological Control weevil on Limiting Eurasian Water Milfoil Biomass

Proposal #4 (Grokenberger) was focused on invasive Eurasian water milfoil. The author was interested in researching the effects of a fungal pathogen, M. terrestris, on Eurasian milfoil biomass in realistic conditions outside a laboratory. Since, weevils had previously been used in biocontrol, they decided to compare the ability of the fungal pathogen to manage Eurasian water milfoil by itself and with in conjunction with weevils.

Integrating chemical, biological, and mycoherbicidal control of Alligator weed to reduce weed growth in North Carolina

Majumdar’s pre-proposal is focused on the alligator weed, an invasive species which forms giant mats over aquatic bodies and blocking our sunlight.  The paper suggests preforming a study on the plant by testing several different types of control methods, namely a flea beetle, mycoherbicide, and herbicide, and then various combinations of the three.  The goal is to see which single treatment or combination of treatments is most effective at reducing the growth of alligator weed over the course of six months.

The efficacy of biocontrol on invasive Melaleuca quinquenervia in the Everglades

The Melaleuca tree is an invasive plant in the Florida Everglades and especially thrives under moist conditions. The tree covers nearly 0.6 million hectares of land and is an ecological and economic concern in the Everglades, costing the US $2 billion while reducing biodiversity. The author plans to explore biological control in combination with chemical control on the tree and whether water levels influence each control method. The methodology calls for 40 saplings, each subjected to different irrigation levels to simulate water levels and various combinations of biological and chemical control. After two years of weekly observations, the trees’ biomasses will be measured to determine if the control methods were successful in stopping the growth of the Melaleuca tree.

Hyperspectral Remote Sensing of Hydrilla verticillata

The goal of this study is to use remote sensing to create a spectral library of the annual lifecycle of hydrilla, an invasive plant. The proposal suggests that remote sensing will improve upon the costly and inefficient field based methods that have been used in the past, and help to better detect the distribution of hydrilla in various environmental conditions.


Our group chose to recommend Mejia’s “Efficacy of biocontrol on invasive Melaleuca quinquenervia in the Everglades”. This pre-proposal outlined a study that sought to determine the effects of both biological and chemical control methods on the Melaleuca tree, an invasive plant in the Florida Everglades. The pre-proposals objectives were two-fold; first, determine if water levels influenced the efficacy of biological controls on the tree, and second, to determine if an herbicide would be effective in combating the tree along with the biological controls.

While the pre-proposal was obviously well thought out and very informative, our group thought that it was perhaps a bit too descriptive for a pre-proposal. We were questioning whether sections needed to be elaborated on, such as the Objectives and Hypothesis portion. There was information presented that may not be necessary for a pre-proposal, but would be more appropriate to add in a full proposal. In short, the paper as a whole could certainly be condensed to make less complicated or extensive. In addition, towards the end of the pre-proposal, the author tended to be repetitive, which adds to the density of the paper. We would advise the author to figure out and separate what is pertinent to the pre-proposal and what is simply superfluous.

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Tuck Stapor on 08-12-2010

Proposal #1 (Buescher) is centered on the invasive Australian Spotted Jellyfish Transport.  Their paper is focused on treating ballast waters that contain this invasive species.  Their research will look for the most effective method of ballast water treatment: electrochemical disinfection, sonication, crumb rubber filtration, and biocide.  Our recommendation for this paper is to include the idea of cost effectiveness in your question section.  Also, make sure that the methodology section is understandable to the reader.

Proposal #2 (Castillo) focuses on a specific type of ballast water treatment, SeaKleen.  This proposal’s goal is to find out how safe this treatment method is to surrounding environments.  The research will test ballast water containing the SeaKleen chemical when it is released into the surrounding waters and will see if the SeaKleen chemical will affect the aquatic ecosystems.  Our may concern for this proposal is that there are a lot of logical leaps within the paper.  For example,  the writer brings about attractive characteristics of the chemical only to contradict these characteristics later on in the paper, which made it confusing for the reader to follow.

Proposal #3 (Lacy) focuses on a different type of ballast water treatment, the deoxygenation method.  The research will test the effectiveness of deoxygenation in reducing the number of aquatic invasive species transported to foreign waters.  The study will use a boat for 15 days, reduce the amount of oxygen in the ballast water, and then record the amount of species that are living and dead following the voyage.

We believe that Proposal #3 is the strongest proposal.  The writing is easily understandable and does not contain any leaps in logic.  The background information is very strong, clear and informative.  The rationale illustrates the importance and need for the research study.  The study itself does not seem as if it will be harmful for surrounding ecosystems or will cause lasting problems to the environment.  The methodology clearly answers the question, and the research applications for the future provide a logical next step to begin putting this ballast prevention treatment into practice.

One main concern for the proposal is that the objective is vague.  The writer uses the word effective often but should specify exactly how that is defined.  The writer should also consider explaining how pumping nitrogen reduces oxygen levels.  Also, there are a few unclear sentences in the final paragraph that the writer should go back and revise.  Overall though, a well thought out research proposal.

Filed Under (Uncategorized) by Manuela Mejia on 08-12-2010

Giant salvinia is an aquatic fern that has invaded 13 states because of its ability to form mats across water bodies and outcompete native plants. Ballard proposes to study a known method of control, the herbicide glyphosate, and test the effects of cold temperatures on its efficacy related to the winter conditions of the Toledo Bend Reservoir. Ballard anticipates that the results of the study will be useful to water resource managers to determine an optimal method of control.

G. calmariensis and G. puscilla are biological control weevils used to control the invasive purple loosestrife, which limits the growth of native vegetation such as the winged lythrum. Gaskins proposes to explore the effects of these weevils on the native winged lythrum to understand whether or not this control method is the most appropriate.

The water hycinath has proven itself to be in aquatic invasive species. It has spread all over the world and E. crassipes has migrated to over 50 countries on 5 continents, but is mainly found in southeast Asia, the southern United States, central America and western, central, and southern Africa. Dickey proposes an experiment to show how Diquat, 2, 4-D amine can restrict the growth rate of water hyacinth such that biological agents can effectively reduce water hyacinth populations.

Diaz proposes an experiment geared towards the prevention and reduction of the Didymo, an aquatic invasive algae in North America. Thus far the efforts to combat this species have involved raising public awareness and preventing further spread of the algae. Knowing that particular base-flow indexes of streams may affect Didymo grwoth, this proposal suggests using hydrological control of model streams with Didymo populations to see whether nuisance blooms could be prevented and whether existing Didymo mats could be washed out.  The author believes that if their experiment shows successful reduction and prevention of Didymo populations, they will have identified a mechanism for permanently control Didymo.

We recommend soliciting a full proposal from Diaz’s experiment. The presence of Didymo is clearly a significant issue, and the author presents the concern in a concise, yet sufficient, manner. The methodology is very clear. The process for this experiment is realistic and thorough. Also, the application and findings from this experiment would be an important discovery to help understand the characteristics of Didymo and control this species in an ideal way.

Our suggestions for Diaz are limited but significant. Firstly, the pictures are not cited, although this is minor. Second, the objectives are given as statements, and we believe the objectives would be more effective if phrased as questions. Also, each of the eight experimental units will be tested for merely two weeks.  Is it possible that more time should be allotted for observations? If two weeks is reasonable, perhaps this should be substantiated somewhere in the rationale or methods.  Most importantly, the anticipated outcome section states that if this experiment is successful, these findings can be directly applied to preventing Didymo permanently in nature; how exactly would hydrological control methods be applied in a natural stream setting? The steps that would be taken for this to occur should be outlined or at least briefly mentioned.  Lastly, even if this study was successful, the study makes no suggestion about the need for further research. We believe that if no follow-up research occurs, the findings of this study cannot be substantiated.


Despite some discrepancies in the data (see the “compare” sheet), your non-expert zooplankton counting is sufficient for identifying trends in Daphnia lumholtzi vs. the native zooplankton over time.  Good work, everyone!  See the updated spreadsheet here.