Aquatic invasive species (AIS) pose tremendous threats to Canada’s rivers, lakes and coastal waters. In response, the Canadian Aquatic Invasive Species Network (CAISN 2006-2011) was established with the goal of identifying and quantifying the vectors and pathways by which AIS enter Canada, determining factors that affect their colonization success, and developing risk assessment models for potential and existing AIS. The NSERC Canadian Aquatic Invasive Species Network II (CAISN II 2011 – 2016) will address remaining information gaps by focusing on four new core themes: Early Detection, Rapid Response, AIS as Part of Multiple Stressors, and Reducing Uncertainty in Prediction and Management.

Network Structure

CAISN spans the nation, bringing together 30 researchers from 12 partner universities and six federal laboratories. Our research incorporates broad taxonomic, ecosystem, geographic, mathematic and philosophical diversity. CAISN combines the various skills and interests of academia, government, industry, and non-government organizations with the aim to assist affected industries, develop government policy and advance invasion science and technology. In addition, CAISN is training graduate and postdoctoral students with specialization in invasive species. Our Scientific Committee oversees the research projects and recruits Principal Investigators; our Board of Directors ensures all partners and stakeholders are represented.

Research Objectives

The introduction and spread of AIS is recognized as one of the greatest threats to global biodiversity. CAISN II will provide a comprehensive profile of AIS in waters across Canada and develop and determine effectiveness of tools for early detection of, and rapid response to invaders. CAISN II also will assist managers with critical decision making regarding if, where, and when measures should be implemented to eradicate, control or stop the spread of AIS. The network’s biodiversity assessments will prepare Canada for commercial shipping through domestic Arctic waters. In the process, CAISN II will train young Canadians to provide future leadership in the AIS field while contributing to policy and educational reforms.


CAISN II will place Canada in a leading role to provide the international community with mitigation measures and monitoring tools through which interagency research and management of aquatic invasive species can be conducted. Furthermore, CAISN II will develop international guidance on standards and methodologies applicable to AIS.