About the Project

Understanding the social dimensions of aquatic invasive species

Since 2017, the van Riper Research Group and collaborators have been conducting research to understand the reasons why people are engaging in behavior and making decisions about invasive species. Our efforts began with a qualitative (pilot) study of anglers and boaters in the state of Illinois with support from the National Great Rivers Research and Education Center. We then received support from the Great Lakes Fishery Commission to conduct a regional, mixed-mode survey of U.S. license-holding anglers surrounding Lake Michigan and Lake Ontario in the U.S. and Canada to provide insight on how best to minimize the unintentional spread of aquatic invasive species. We are now working with the Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant to understand angler and boater responses to message framing about aquatic invasive species, and to assess communication campaigns for organism-in-trade hobbyists. Our work involves collaboration with stakeholder groups to better understand how agencies can best represent their interests, as well as close communication with resource management agencies to enhance their communication strategies to motivates people to act more consistently on their belief systems. It is our hope that the outcomes of this research will benefit freshwater ecosystems and human communities working to sustain natural resources in the Great Lakes Basin.

A group of previous survey respondents after a fishing tournament in Winthrop Harbor, Illinois (2017).


This research is supported by: