Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Science (MS)




Overland transport of recreational boats is the major vector of dispersal for aquatic invasive species among North American waterbodies. These species have large economic and ecosystem impacts, and understanding their movement is essential to understanding the biodiversity and functioning of aquatic ecosystems across the continent. I surveyed Illinois boaters to determine patterns of recreational boat movement and the consistency with which boaters perform actions to prevent the spread of invasive species. Although most boaters perform these actions, a large minority do not and the network for invasive species spread on recreational boats still connects most waterbodies. Next, I interviewed managers at organizations that conduct outreach aimed at educating boaters about invasive species. I found that outreach can influence boater actions, but that many boaters are not affected by current outreach programs. The results provide guidance for future outreach efforts and for more effective ways to assess the effectiveness of outreach.

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Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.

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