In Fight Against Invasive Carp, Missouri Scientists Explore New Frontier: Stalking Babies | Metro
COLUMBIA, Mo. – For decades, four invasive species of carp have devoured plants, gorged themselves on plankton, and endangered an interconnected community of fish, plants and molluscs beneath the brown and murky waters of the Missouri River.
At the same time, environmentalists and officials across the country are fighting to control carp damage: enlisting scientists, installing fences, contracting with commercial fishing companies and even, later this year, by launching a campaign to get more restaurants to serve fish.
Today, scientists from the US Geological Survey and the University of Missouri have identified a potential breakthrough: They are studying the complex way carp eggs move in rivers, in the hope that they can kill while they are still young.
“We have developed better ways to kill large numbers of adult carp,” said Duane Chapman, USGS fish biologist. “But you also have to think about the other end.”
Carp eggs drift for miles, and as they drift, the fish thrive. If researchers can determine where they land and if those locations are suitable for growing young carp, then they can target the sites and intercept the eggs.
Water moves in three dimensions – downstream, side to side, and top to bottom. But so far, river models have been relatively straightforward, usually based on one or two dimensions, the researchers say. Now, however, they have access to more powerful computers, have spent hundreds of hours collecting new water flow data, and found help – an expert in fluid physics. All of this means that scientists now hope to use three-dimensional data on water flow to trace the trajectory of the eggs.