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Professor wins $105,000 to fund sea lamprey control project

Saturday, July 12, 2014   by: SooToday.com Staff

NEWS RELEASE

ALGOMA UNIVERSITY

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Algoma University is pleased to announce that Dr. István Imre, Associate Professor in the Department of Biology, has been awarded substantial funding from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission, valued at $105,018, to fund his project exploring new control methods for the sea lamprey, an invasive pest in the Great Lakes.

"We have an amazing group of faculty and students here at Algoma University. Faculty research ranges across a very diverse and exciting number of topics that are very relevant to the needs of our region and country," said Dr. David Schantz, Vice-President, Academic and Research.

"We are privileged to be associated with and to work with Dr. Imre as one of Algoma's faculty members and we celebrate his accomplishments. Dr. Imre's research has a direct impact on our immediate waterway environment and his research exposes our students to meaningful world class inquiry into topics that make a difference. This is one example of the high quality educational experience we seek to provide for Algoma students. It is with great satisfaction that we see his research being recognized by the Great Lakes Fishery Commission."

The $105,018 in funding was awarded from January 2014 until December 2015 for the project titled "Laboratory and Field Exploration of Natural and Synthesized Repellents for Seal Lamprey (petromyzon marinus)".

The Great Lakes Fishery Commission currently relies on the use of lampricides, low-head barrier dams, and trapping of adults to control the spread of sea lamprey.

Due to rising lampricide costs and an effort to diversify the control program, the Great Lakes Fishery Commission has encouraged the development and use of alternative control methods that are effective and environmentally friendly.

Dr. Imre recently discovered that sea lamprey recognize and respond to conspecific chemical alarm cues and predator cues.

He suggested that chemical alarm cues can be used as a natural repellent to manipulate the behaviour and spatial distribution of migratory adult sea lamprey populations for control purposes.

The present grant was awarded to Dr. Imre to investigate the concentration of several chemical alarm cues that induce the strongest avoidance response by sea lamprey and conduct studies in wild streams to evaluate the effectiveness of these alarm cues as seasonal chemical barriers.

Imre is the principal investigator on this research, and will be working with Dr. Nicholas S. Johnson of the USGS Hammond Bay Biological Station, and Dr. Grant E. Brown with the Department of Biology from Concordia University. 

"Decreasing sea lamprey abundance in the Great Lakes is vitally important to restore and maintain native fish populations impacted by this invasive pest. My research is aimed at adding an environmentally friendly method to the Great Lakes Fishery Commission's control arsenal, and it provides valuable basic and applied research opportunities to our undergraduate and graduate students," said Dr. Imre.

For more information on Imre's project, please visit The Great Lakes - St. Lawrence Research Inventory website

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