Bin Zhu, research scientist at the Finger Lakes Institute, was awarded a $10,000 grant under the New York Great Lakes Protection Fund Small Grants Program to conduct research on European frogbit, an invasive aquatic plant of potential concern to the Great Lakes and the Finger Lakes.
The proposal “Predicting the Invasion Process of European Frogbit and A Survey of Possible Biological Control Organisms in the Great Lakes Region” was selected for funding by the Great Lakes Research Consortium reviewers and affirmed by the New York Great Lakes Basin Advisory Council.
“I am very excited to receive this state grant,” Zhu said. “The invasive aquatic plant European frogbit has been spreading rapidly from Canada to the Great Lakes region in the United States. It may be an imminent threat to further areas of the Great Lakes Basin, likely to have major impacts on these surrounding natural ecosystems, possibly including the Finger Lakes. Knowledge of its invasive ability will be crucial to predicting the potential extent of future distributions and the resulting ecosystem disruption and economic loss.”
In the proposed project, Zhu will collaborate with Lars Rudstam of Cornell University to investigate the major environmental factors contributing to the rapid expansion of this plant, and explore possible biological control agents to manage its current population.
“We will start from this seed project and expand this study in the near future,” Zhu continued.
The New York State Great Lakes Protection Fund Small Grants Program provides a source of funds for regional and statewide research projects that will protect, restore and improve the health of the Great Lakes ecosystem of New York State. The Fund was created in 1990 through legislation that allows New York to use a portion of the earned interest on an endowment created by seven of the eight Great Lakes states, called the Great Lakes Protection Fund.
Zhu joined the Finger Lakes Institute's staff in 2006 and is conducting aquatic research on invasive species in the Finger Lakes. The Institute is dedicated to the promotion of environmental research and education about the Finger Lakes and surrounding environments. In collaboration with regional environmental partners and state and local government offices, the Institute fosters environmentally-sound development practices throughout the region, and disseminates the accumulated knowledge to the general public.