Professor Diba Khan-Bureau
Date of Speaker: 2/19/2014
Gregory J. Bugbee & Jordan A. Gibbons
Invasive Aquatic Plants found in CT lakes
Gregory Bugbee and Jordan Gibbons were an absolute pleasure to listen to in this third seminar. Gregory Bugbee is apart of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station working in the Department of soil and water. He is an expert in soil and fertility, turfgrass, potting media, composing, utilization of composted biosolids, and control of weeds and algae in lakes and ponds. Gregory Bugbee has the job to care for plants, especially invasive ones, or in other words, aquatic weed control. He has a Bachelor of Science degree in Agronomy, obtained from the University of Connecticut in 1978. His field of work currently is controlling invasive species in lakes and ponds In Connecticut with his research assistant Jordan Gibbons, who recently graduated from Westfield State College. During this Seminar, Greg and Jordan discussed what Invasive species are, where do they come from, what threat do they cause, and how to control them.
Aquatic plants are very good for lakes and ponds, if they are native. Native aquatic plants cleanse the water. They cleanse the water by filtering out pollutants which improve the waters clarity also.They also provide a habitat of food for aquatic organisms. However, contamination of ponds is very likely, this is where invasive aquatic plants come into play. Invasive aquatic plants are not native to Connecticut lakes and ponds, and because they are not native, they cause a huge hassle. They grow so big, and so fast that they become an issue. Invasive aquatic plants, decrease recreational opportunities, reduce the value of homes, and even alter the ecosystems that are native to the lakes and ponds. But how do these invasive aquatic plants show up in our lakes and ponds from different countries, and what do we do about?Invasive species can come from people that own aquariums, who then dump them into lakes thinking they are doing a good thing. Boat trailing is another example of how invasive species come about in our lakes and ponds. From recreational boating, plants attach to the boats trailer, and when the boats go to the new lake, those plants are then transferred to the lake or pond, making them invasive if plants like that do not exist in the area. Another example of how this could happen would be ducks going to different ponds or lakes, they get plants stuck in their feathers and then those plants get transferred to the new lake or pond the duck is in. Greg and Jordan both discussed whether or not they should be controlled or not. Some options would be to not do anything at all, hope for the best and that it doesn't get worse. Another option would be Harvesting. An example of where to harvest would be at a recreational beach area, because once the area is harvested, people will be constantly kicking up stuff from the ground floor, preventing any weeds from growing back. Hand removal of invasive plants is tedious, but is also another option. A down side to that option however is that it is extremely expensive because divers need to be paid. Another option would be to “drawdown”, which is lowering the water to dry out the invasive species, or freeze them in order to get control. However, there are problems with this method because it is not good for animals living in this habitat. One of the most interesting things I learned about during this seminar was the use of Milfoil Weevals. These bugs eat bad plants, but this method of eliminating invasive plants has shown to not be reliable because these very expensive bugs, $1 each, and they get eaten by other animals in that habitat. A million of these bugs are needed to get the job done, so that’s a lot of money down the drain.
Hands down, I would have to say that this was the most entertaining seminar so far! I really enjoyed the Hands on work in the classroom. The hands on work really let me grasp the material better, because I was able to see these invasive species for myself, and then identify them. The types of invasive species we identified in class were, Cabomba Caroliniana, Egeria densa, Eichhornia crassipes, Hydrilla verticillata, Marsilea quadrifolia, myriophyllum aquaticum, Myriophyllum heterophyllum, Myriophyllum spicatum, Naja minor, Potamogeton crispus, Salvinia molesta, and Trapa natans. That is a lot of names and plants to remember, but it is actually easier than I originally thought it would be because these plants have certain characteristics, like the more leaves to a whorl, which means the worse the invasive plants in that area will get. Overall I really enjoyed this seminar, and I actually look forward to looking in the lakes when I go fishing to see if I can spot any of these plants. Great class!