NOAA 2003-R506
Contact: Jana Goldman
NOAA News Releases 2003
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The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) has established a new NOAA National Center for Research on Aquatic Invasive Species in Ann Arbor, Mich. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The Center will allow NOAA to more effectively organize and coordinate its aquatic invasive species research efforts while assuring that NOAA resources are focused on priority problems nationwide, and where appropriate, form partnerships with other agencies, academia, and the private sector.

“Each year, aquatic invasive species wreak billions of dollars in damages on the U.S. economy, much of which is passed on to the consumer,” said retired Navy Vice Adm. Conrad C. Lautenbacher, Ph. D. undersecretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator. “If we are to effectively deal with this threat we must coordinate our science in order to provide the best information and most appropriate ways to reduce the impact of invasive species and stem their spread, or prevent introduction of new ones.”

Under NOAA’s plan, the agency’s National Center for Research on Aquatic Invasive Species will be established at NOAA’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) in Ann Arbor, Mich. Lautenbacher said there were many reasons GLERL was selected including:

The lab’s extensive in-house expertise, and proven 14-year track record of conducting aquatic invasive species research, including prevention, ecosystem impacts and forecasting, as well as monitoring;
The network of collaborative partnerships that GLERL has developed with universities, government agencies, and the private sector; and
The unique link that the lab has developed with the National Sea Grant College Program through establishment of a GLERL / Great Lakes Sea Grant Network Extension Agent.

Lautenbacher said the center will work across NOAA under the matrix management approach he recently implemented throughout the agency. Center director, Dr. David Reid, a senior physical scientist who has served at GLERL since 1985, will develop programs and priorities with a team representing the three units of NOAA that carry out NOAA’s marine science mission: the Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research, the National Ocean Service and the National Marine Fisheries Service. Reid will also be a member of NOAA’s aquatic invasive species matrix management team.

Dr. Stephen Brandt, acting deputy assistant administrator of NOAA’s Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research (OAR) and GLERL director, said that the Center will establish NOAA regional coordinators in six major aquatic coastal regions around the United States, ensuring that the coordination would be NOAA-wide and fully national in scope.

“Since NOAA co-chairs the Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force, the research identified by the center will be easily coordinated with the research priorities identified by the task force and the Invasive Species Council,” Brandt said.

Lautenbacher noted that Canada's Department of Fisheries and Oceans
(DFO), the Canadian federal department with a mission closest to NOAA's, expressed interest in the center when he described it during a visit to Ottawa in May. In early June DFO indicated plans to develop a similar Canadian Aquatic Invasive Species Research Centre and expressed the desire to have the two centers work cooperatively.

Brandt said that GLERL's close proximity to Canada and its many interactions with the Canadian scientific community will help develop links between the NOAA Center and the new Canadian Centre sought by the DFO.

The Commerce Department's National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Office of Oceanic and Atmospheric Research is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through research to better understand weather and climate-related events and to manage wisely our nation's coastal and marine resources. To learn more about NOAA, please visit