Great Lakes Region

Orangespotted sunfish (Lepomis humilis), a nonnative species. Credit: G.W. Sneegas.

The Great Lakes have a long history of aquatic nonindigenous species (ANS) introductions, both intentional and unintentional. Over 180 nonindigenous species are currently established (i.e., have reproducing populations) in the Great Lakes basin. Although sea lamprey and zebra and quagga mussels are among the best known of these introduced species, the list also includes myriad bacteria, protozoans, crustaceans, and plants.

If natural resource managers are familiar with these species, they can more effectively prevent their spread. Toward this end, NOAA’s Great Lakes Aquatic Nonindigenous Species Information System (GLANSIS) was created as a “one stop shop” for extensive records and information on species that have entered the Great Lakes. This includes photographs, species ecology, means and time of introduction, and continent of origin, among many other details.

GLRI funding has enabled NOAA to expand GLANSIS, making it a more effective tool for resource managers and improving its ability to support detection of and rapid response to nonindigenous species. GLRI-supported upgrades include:

Quagga mussel from Lake Michigan, 2007. Credit: M. Quigley, GLERL.

• Addition of “range expansion” species to the GLANSIS database: species native to one portion of the Great Lakes but considered invasive to other portions of the basin.
• Addition of high-priority “watch list” species: species identified as high risk for invading and becoming established in the Great Lakes.
• Addition of enhanced impact assessments supporting cross-taxa comparison of impacts.
• Enhanced bibliographic information.
• Addition of non-technical fact sheets for priority species of public interest.
• Addition of updated management information, including regulations and best management practices and control methodologies, for all species in the database.

The GLANSIS database is available for public use at no cost. Please visit the GLANSIS website to learn more about this important tool to address one of the greatest threats facing the Great Lakes.

Sea lamprey (Petromyzon marinus). Credit: T. Lawrence, Great Lakes Fishery Commission.


FY 2010: $250,000
FY 2011: $133,000
FY 2016: $74,714
FY 2017: $450,000

For additional information, please contact:
Rochelle Sturtevant, Regional Sea Grant Specialist – Outreach
NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory
Phone: (734) 741-2287

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