In lakes but not in minds: stakeholder knowledge of invasive species in prairie lakes

Lushani Nanayakkara*, Rozzet Jurdi-Hage, Peter R. Leavitt, Björn Wissel

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)
271 Downloads (Pure)


Humans are key vectors in the spread and establishment of aquatic invasive species (AIS), and human behavior can exacerbate or help prevent further spread of non-native species. Therefore, stakeholders’ knowledge is critical to preventing establishment of AIS. However, stakeholders’ AIS knowledge in prairie lakes remains poorly understood. We used a survey questionnaire in Saskatchewan, Canada, to assess the state of AIS knowledge, identify predictors of knowledge, and optimize management strategies. Statistical analyses of the responses of 440 participants indicated a generally low level of AIS knowledge, suggesting low communication success. Respondents were generally more aware of non-native fishes than plants. Of concern was the observation of substantial knowledge gaps regarding non-native mussels and important preventative behaviors that may have devastating ecological, social, and economic consequences if left unaddressed. Better understanding of AIS issues was significantly associated with several trans-situational (age, sex and education), situational (recreational purpose and using multiple lakes), and lake-related knowledge (awareness of eutrophication) predictors. Exploitation of these predictors is recommended to improve effectiveness of outreach and communication efforts. Specifically, we propose that management strategies focus on improving communications by streamlining outreach messages, targeting low-knowledge groups (e.g., swimmers, cabin owners), and expanding education campaigns.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)633-652
Number of pages20
JournalBiological Invasions
Issue number3
Early online date25 Sep 2017
Publication statusPublished - Mar 2018


  • AIS knowledge
  • Communications strategy
  • Knowledge predictors
  • Outreach
  • Prairie lakes
  • Survey research

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Ecology, Evolution, Behavior and Systematics
  • Ecology


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