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Ecosystems - Invasive Species Program

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The USGS Invasive Species Program provides methodologies, information, and research to address the threat of invasive species to ecosystems and native species. As the primary research agency within the Department of the Interior, the Program places special emphasis on lands and waters managed by the Department. The Program supports cooperative efforts to document and monitor the introduction and spread of invasive species, study the ecology of invaders and factors in the resistance of habitats to invasion, to forecast probabilities and locations of future invasions, provide methods and information to assess and manage risks, and develop methods to prevent and control invasive species and minimize their environmental impacts.

USGS scientists conduct research on invasive species in all regions of the US and in a wide range of terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems as well as on a variety of taxa, including aquatic invertebrates, fish, terrestrial invertebrates, terrestrial vertebrates (birds, mammals etc.), reptiles, and plants. USGS research on invasive species is guided by the USGS Invasive Species Program Five Year Program Plan. This plan outlines goals, strategies, and requirements for significantly increasing USGS efforts during the next five years to help Department of the Interior managers and the nation respond more rapidly and effectively to the growing threats from invasive species. Primary areas of research include:

  • conducting research and developing methods and technologies to prevent the introduction of invasive species;
  • identifying and reporting new invasions and assess risks to natural areas and waters;
  • assessing changes and distributions of established invaders;
  • determining the effects of invasive species and susceptibility of habitats to invasion;
  • providing approaches to contain, reduce, and eliminate populations of invasive species and restore habitats and native species; and
  • providing and coordinating the collection, synthesis, and accessibility of invasive species information.

The long-term goals of the USGS Invasive Species Program are driven by the need to provide the knowledge and tools to support effective science-based strategies for prevention, early detection, and prompt eradication of new invaders and for control of rapidly spreading species representing all major taxonomic groups of invaders in U.S. ecosystems. Specific long-term goals and the kinds of activities that will be conducted to meet them can be found in the following topical research goals, as defined in the Strategic Plan.

Invasive Species Program's Research Topics


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