Lab gets upgrade help to fight Asian carp

Bighead carp
In this Thursday, Jan. 5, 2006 file photo, a bighead carp, front, a species of the Asian carp, swims in a new exhibit that highlights plants and animals that eat or compete with Great Lakes native species, at Chicago's Shedd Aquarium.
M. Spencer Green/Associated Press

The University of Minnesota lab charged with finding ways to fight Asian carp and other invasive species is about to get a makeover.

The Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species center needs better plumbing, a new well, and controls to ensure no organisms can escape. Lottery money and funds from the Legacy amendment will be used to ready the lab for an expanded role in fighting Asian carp and other invasive species.

Director of the Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Center, Peter Sorensen, says his earlier discoveries about pheromones that common carp react to, point to possible ways to control Asian carp.

"We're looking for specific sensory stimuli that are not only important for this species but unique, things that only they detect and respond to," Sorensen said. "Not only is there a distinct possibility of sex pheromones, but there's indications that some of the food stimuli too are unique."

Apply those pheromones in the right place at the right time and fish might be encouraged — or discouraged — to follow certain paths in the water.

Sorensen will ask the legislature for nearly $9 million to hire more researchers next year.

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