Back in April, we announced an art contest that asked K-12 students to share their ideas of how Lake Michigan could be protected from Asian carp. The results are now in, and three students in the Champaign area have been crowned the winners.
The awards go to Kylie Jackson, a third grader from Mahomet, and Lindsay Donovan and Nicole Dudley, both kindergarteners from Champaign. Each of their drawings depicts different ways to control the spread of Asian carp by keeping eggs from hatching. Kyle, Lindsay, and Nicole were chosen from 67 entries. Drawings were judged on creativity, artistic design, and relevancy to the topic.
The contest, funded by Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant, is part of ongoing efforts to introduce people to a new modeling tool that resource managers and lawmakers can use to prevent the spread of Asian carp. The model, known as FluEgg, can help decision makers identify where in the Great Lakes the invasive fish could become established. Because carp eggs have to stay afloat to hatch, Asian carp need to spawn in fast-moving streams. In order to thrive in the lakes, they would need access to places where there is a lot of turbulence, such as downstream from dams and spillways. Resource managers can use FluEgg to find those areas where conditions are right and test how effective prevention methods would be.
Developed by University of Illinois researchers Tatiana Garcia and Marcelo Garcia, FluEgg is the first of its kind to consider factors like water temperature and turbulence as well as biological data about early life stages to answer the question of whether Asian carp can become established in the Great Lakes. The model has already revealed that the Sandusky River in Ohio—a tributary to Lake Erie that was though unsuitable for spawning—could be a breeding ground for Asian carp during warm summer months. In the coming months, Tatiana and Marcelo plan to use FluEgg to evaluate more tributaries.
To learn more about Asian carp development and FluEgg, visit asiancarp.illinois.edu.