By Tim Campbell
If you’re a fan of big upsets, then there wasn’t much for you in the first round of the Spring Thaw Throwdown Least Wanted AIS Tournament. There were a lot of lopsided matchups in this round that produced almost no surprises. Let’s look at the results and break it down matchup by matchup.
EWM smothers Brazilian waterweed 73% to 27%
With Eurasian watermilfoil having invasion wins all over the map in Wisconsin, it was always going to be tough for Brazilian waterweed to notch a victory here. An early prohibited NR40 designation for Egeria densa may have really hampered its ability to compete in this tournament.
Water lettuce and water hyacinth falls to Starry stonewort 30% to 70%
Both are relative newcomers to the invasion game here in Wisconsin, but Starry stonewort has been working on its invasion game in Michigan for a while and has also expanded into Minnesota. It’s done well to make itself really unwanted in its short time in Wisconsin. Plus, the climate might not be just right for water lettuce and water hyacinth to make a big splash here. If we see this matchup again in fifty years, maybe it’ll be a different outcome?
Round goby gobbles Eurasian ruffe 76% to 23%
We knew this was coming. While no one likes the spines and the slime of the ruffe, no one wants the round goby. With invasion wins on a much larger scale both in the Great Lakes and now inland bodies of water, I don’t think there was any doubt about the outcome of this matchup.
And that’s really because round gobies were the subject of my master’s thesis, so I probably would’ve advanced them anyway.
Silver and bighead carp smack the Sea lamprey 60% to 40%
Tough draw for the sea lamprey in the first round. They don’t have jaws, they suck the life out of fish, but they came up against a big fish with a strong jumping game in the first round. We would have favored them in about any other matchup in the tournament, but against the silver and bighead carp, it was always going to be trying to swim over a barrier too high. Plus, it’s tough to win when you have a $20 million control program keeping you down.
VHS vs KHV 76% to 23%
When it comes to nonnative fish viruses, we know who is least wanted in Wisconsin. It was always going to be working against Koi Herpes Virus that its primary target is common carp, which is also on a lot of folks’ “least wanted” lists.
Phragmites outcompetes Purple loosestrife 27% to 73%
It’s hard for the pretty ones to be the least wanted and it’s really easy not to like a stem and a seed head. Not much there.
The Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative is going to have to show up in full force next week if they are going to have a shot against team fish and VHS.
Zebra and quagga mussels biofoul the Spiny water flea into submission 73% to 27%
While I think we all expected the mussels to pull this one out, I do think we all thought it would’ve been closer. What the spiny water fleas lack in invasion wins they make up for by being really abundant in one of the most studied lakes in the world – Lake Mendota. However, in the end, a well-established invasion pedigree with impacts all over the country lead the zebra and quagga mussels to an impressive victory.
Apparently, not enough people have watched the StopTheSpiny.com hype video that they were really hoping would get them elite unwanted status.
Rusty crayfish clip the New Zealand mudsnails 53% to 47%
In the closest matchup and the biggest surprise of the first round, the rusty crayfish clipped the New Zealand mudsnails in a close matchup. We were thinking that the NZMS had the hype due to recent invasion wins in Wisconsin and the engagement of previously unaffected stakeholder groups, but no. What we saw here was an invasion program with a long history of impacts and studies in Wisconsin taking down an up-and-comer in the invasion game. Impressive match, Rusty crayfish.
Tune in next week for our analysis of the matchups in the division finals of the Spring Thaw Throwdown!