Home > Explore Data & Reports > Eurasian watermilfoil fitness loss and invasion potential following desiccation during simulated overland transport


Jerde, C.L., M.A. Barnes, E.K. DeBuysser, A. Noveroske, W.L. Chadderton, and D.M. Lodge. 2012. Eurasian watermilfoil fitness loss and invasion potential following desiccation during simulated overland transport. Aquatic Invasions, 7(1):135-142. https://doi.org/10.3391/ai.2012.7.1.015

Data/Report Type:

Sponsored Research


Vegetative reproduction promotes human-mediated dispersal of aquatic invasive plants as fragments “hitchhike” between water bodies on boats and trailers. However, desiccation of plant fragments may also reduce fitness, decreasing the likelihood of fragment survival as transport distances increase. Current inter-lake invasive species spread models do not directly consider fitness loss due to desiccation and mechanical damage of the transport pathway. Here, we estimate survival as a function of desiccation exposure for Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum). Following desiccation treatments, we monitored survival and root formation of individual fragments and assessed the differences between treatments. Highest survival rates occurred for short (< one hour) air exposures and coiled fragments with root production for the coiled treatment occurring in less than two weeks, irrespective of fragment length. In contrast, fragments that experienced desiccation for more than 24 hours had little risk of surviving. Our results emphasize the threat posed by same-day overland movements of boats from invaded to uninvaded waterways, and provide managers with a surveillance radius to inform delimitation surveys arising from the discovery of a new invasion.

Note to readers with disabilities: Some scientific publications linked from this website may not conform to Section 508 accessibility standards due to the complexity of the information being presented. If you need assistance accessing this electronic content, please contact the lead/corresponding author, Primary Contact, or nccos.webcontent@noaa.gov.

Explore Similar Data/Reports


NCCOS delivers ecosystem science solutions for stewardship of the nation’s ocean and coastal resources to sustain thriving coastal communities and economies.

Stay Connected

Sign up for our quarterly newsletter or view our archives.

Follow us on Social

Listen to our Podcast

Check our our new podcast "Coastal Conversations"