Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner? Investigating Spawning and Feeding Habits of the Invasive Asian Carp Using Remote Sensing and GIS

Asian carp are opportunistic feeders and eat phytoplankton and algae. The USGS has been conducting studies into feeding habits of Asian carp, and was interested in knowing blue-green algae concentrations in Lake Michigan. Source: NASA.

Asian carp are opportunistic feeders and eat phytoplankton and algae. The USGS has been conducting studies into feeding habits of Asian carp, and was interested in knowing blue-green algae concentrations in Lake Michigan. Source: NASA.

Team Location: Great Lakes and St. Lawrence Cities Initiative

Authors: Cassandra Follett, Sarah Geise, Robert Bradley, Brendan McAndrew, Rebecca Christhilf.

Advisors/Science Mentors: Dr. Kenton Ross, David Ullrich

Abstract: The NASA DEVELOP Great Lakes Ecosystem Team was formed in spring 2011 to demonstrate the versatility of NASA technologies and assist in the decision-making process of Asian carp management. Building on existing and current research performed on the Asian carp epidemic, it was determined there were two specific areas of focus that NASA technologies, resources, and DEVELOP students could assist. First was modeling potential spawning and feeding hotspots, and second was visualizing these models and other agency data outputs in a 3D environment. Hotspot maps showing likely spawning locations were developed using data provided by multiple government agencies and implemented into ArcMap 10. NOAA provided GIS layers of Lake Michigan, the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided GIS layers of lake tributaries and the surrounding wetlands, and the U.S. Geological Survey provided real-time stream-flow and temperature data. For potential feeding hotspot mapping, blue-green algae were remotely sensed using sea surface color produced by NASA’s MODIS instrument on the Aqua/Terra satellites as they passed over Lake Michigan and were processed using the NASA operated SeaDAS application. Using a NASA Shuttle Radar Topography Digital Elevation Model and the GIS layers, 3D visualizations of the study area and the hotspot mapping were produced in ArcScene 10. These 3D visuals and other agency data were then projected into a 3D environment called the HIVE to dramatically visualize the data and provide an outreach tool for partner organizations to use in gaining future support for controlling Asian carp establishment in the Great Lakes.

Video transcript available here.