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Asian Carp Deterrent Experiment at the Keokuk Lock and Dam 19

The video introduces the geologist heading up a carp deterrent experiment at the Lock and Dam in Keokuk, Iowa. The deterrent uses sound waves to avert Asian carp from migrating up the river. The Asian carp is considered an invasive species and is believed to have accidentally entered the Mississippi River in the 1980s. Since the carp is a filter feeder it eats the plankton in the waterways which reduces the water quality. It is also devastating to native species because of the competition it creates for space and food. The Asian carp deterrent is an important experiment because it would stop the carp from migrating further north and eventually infiltrating the Great Lakes.

Lock and Dam 19, Keokuk, Iowa

Possible Guiding, Compelling and/or Anchoring Questions

  • Why do scientists use the term “invasive” species when describing Asian carp? Humans are a global species so why can’t animals or plants be transplanted anywhere in the world and welcomed by the native population? 
  • Why do some invasive species need to be addressed and removed from a region, while others are promoted and purposely transplanted?

Classroom Suggestions

  • Hold a debate exploring other deterrent(s): There are many other types of deterrents that are being experimented with, some of which include water jets, CO2, physical gates, and strobe lights. You can assign each student a different fish deterrent to research and then run a debate where students defend which one is the most viable and why. If you do not have time to run a debate format, a simple pro/con list is a good way for students to organize their findings and rank which deterrent they feel would have the best results. 
  • Introduce students to other regional or international invasive species by having them create a “Most Wanted” poster about a plant or animal that they have researched. This would be an efficient way to learn about different parts of the world, what is considered native and invasive (for example, honey bees are considered invasive in the U.S because they are originally from Europe), and why some invasive species are considered worse than others.

Related Resources

Iowa Core Alignment

Life Science
Disciplinary Core Idea
LS2: Ecosystems: Interactions, Energy, and Dynamics

Credit Info

Submitted by Courtney Giesel.

Facility, research and staff support provided by the USGS, U.S. Army Engineer Research and Development Center, U.S. Army Corps of Engineers, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and the states of Illinois, Iowa, Minnesota, Missouri and Wisconsin.


Have you used this resource in your classroom? Do you have ideas for improvement? Share your ideas, experiences and feedback about this phenomena.

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