Dominant Topics – Looking Back Over Ten Years in Aquatic Plant Management

hottopicHot topics seem to change by the minute, if not the second, in today’s world.  This morning’s celebrity scandal is overshadowed by reports of corruption in politics or sports in the afternoon.  We are a society that lives in the here and now, but a lot can be learned from our past.  Although not as readily amended as pop culture news, topics certainly change in the science of aquatic plant management and some stay the same.  These topics are a sign of the times and potentially even a sign of things to come.  This week’s blog will raise the question: “What do YOU think the big topics over the last ten years have been?” and “Where do you see the science going in the future?”  We have our opinion, so why don’t you let us know if you agree!

Yes, a whale REALLY exploded....Source - Journal Baleine

Yes, a whale REALLY exploded……Source – Journal Baleine

Looking back at 2004, we as a society were enjoying our leap year, whales were exploding in Taiwan (yes, a whale),  and a little known social media site was launched as the apartment creation of a bunch of Harvard dropouts (you may have heard of it, Facebook or something like that).

Carlton Layne in Tampa, 2004

Carlton Layne in Tampa, 2004


In the science of Aquatic Plant Management, we certainly had a wide variety of things on our mind as was evident from the year’s journal publications  and annual meeting.  From nutrient uptake of the problematic Lyngbya wollei, to defining the low temperature threshold of giant salvinia, we showcased a wealth of diverse research going on a decade ago.  Invasives like hydrilla, hyacinth, and milfoil were certainly present, as they seem to always be, but a relatively new topic emerges in our 2004 meeting in Tampa that year.  “Aquatic Plants and Herbicide Management: A Special Session to Discuss Resistance, Tolerance, and Environmental Factors that Impact Treatment Efficacy” filled the 8:50am spot on that Tuesday morning in July.  Although not the first time the topic has been presented, it was certainly a precursor for what was to come in the science….

Fast forward to present day…. 2014, a year not quite over but boasting some impressive headlines of it’s own.  Ebola running rampant in Africa, terrorist threats against the West, all amidst new episodes of the “Real” Housewives fighting…and fighting… and fighting.  Ten years later and we still are busy studying new ways to quantify, manage, and assess all the things that make our science great.  The common players are still in the game (hydrilla, hyacinth, and milfoil) with some new arrivals showing up in new places (giant salvinia, crested floating heart, and many others)  However, the topic presented that Tuesday morning over ten years ago has become and remained one of the biggest drivers of aquatic plant research, extension, and management.  In fact, resistance was discussed in four separate talks in the 2014 APMS annual meeting.   Potential herbicide resistance has greatly changed the way waters in the United States are managed, sparked a slew of research in the past several years, and spawned the development of various new aquatic herbicides.   You will also find that nearly all management plans today address herbicide resistance in one way or another.

More Carlton, this time with Mike Riffle at the 2014 annual APMS meeting.

More of Carlton, this time with Michael Riffle at the 2014 Annual APMS meeting.

A quick glance between the 2004 and 2014 journal (that awesome white paperback with purple letters we get a few times a year) and you would likely not notice a huge difference in subject matter up front.  However similar our science today may seem to itself in 2004, much has changed.  All of us have gotten older, possibly even retired (maybe twice), while new faces have stepped in to attempt to fill those shoes.  New innovations, career defining research, and advancements are being made in aquatic plant management every day.  We believe that herbicide resistance was and still is one of the main topics in the past decade.   What are some other major topics that have dominated the field of aquatic plant management over the past ten years?  What will be the “hot topic” in aquatic plant management in the NEXT ten years?  Irrespective of the topic, the best part is that you, reading this blog, will get to be a part of defining that change and meeting new challenges as we go.

To see more of what was going on in 2004, check out that years Journal and Annual Meeting Program.

Want to learn more about herbicide resistance in aquatic plant management? Click HERE

Stay tuned for more from the APMS Blog!

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