Curlyleaf pondweed is an invasive aquatic weed that is increasing in density in Lake Tahoe. It reproduces via vegetative shoots called turions, which are extremely resilient and hard to kill. Researchers are working on identifying possible means for controlling the spread and reproduction of this invasive species using bottom barriers of several materials (jute, rubber, and polyethylene).
TERC utilizes a combination of field and laboratory surveys and experiments to understand the relationship between curly leaf pondweed population biomass, asexual reproduction (via turion production), and management using bottom barriers. This research assesses plant density in five locations in South Lake Tahoe, measures habitat quality in each location, installs three types of barriers to rest the impacts on plant biomass and turion viability, and the collection of turions from both control sites and from under barriers to quantify germination rates in a lab setting. The goals of this study are to understand the impact of curly leaf pondweed on Lake Tahoe's littoral zone ecology and the potential for non chemical treatment using benthic barriers. Specifically TERC seeks to understand how the life history of curly leaf pondweed impacts the likelihood of population growth in a large, subalpine oligotrophic lake given its current distribution, biomass, and turion bank. Additionally this study will examine the ability of curly leaf pondweed to be effectively managed in Lake Tahoe with benthic barriers to reduce both macrophyte biomass as well as turion viability.