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October 16, 2023

From October 16-19, 2023, FORT scientists will present their research on invasive species management in North America through conference talks, posters, and networking sessions.

Hello Again for the First Time: a Detailed Walkthrough of New and Updated Features for the Invasive Species Habitat Tool (INHABIT).

Presenter: Peder Engelstad

Overview: Over the past five years, we used a management-driven approach to guide the development of the Invasive Species Habitat Tool (INHABIT), a web application designed by and for practitioners alongside spatial ecologists at USGS. During this co-produced effort, more than 200 terrestrial plant species have been identified as high priority by managers working with invasive plant species in the contiguous United States. Recently, INHABIT received a complete overhaul with new features and data for all species, driven by user feedback and conversations in the field. Here, we offer a comprehensive walkthrough of the current state of INHABIT, stepping through each element of the tool and placing them in the context of potential use cases and management scenarios. October 17, 2023. Full Abstract.

Screenshot of the INHABIT Tool
Screenshot of the INHABIT web-based decision support tool for invasive species habitat visualization and assessment across the contiguous United States.

Invasive Species Habitat Tool (INHABIT): informing EDRR activities.

Presenter: Catherine Jarnevich 

Overview: Early detection and rapid response (EDRR) activities can help prevent invaders from becoming established, thus avoiding costly management actions. The Invasive Species Habitat Tool (INHABIT) provides habitat suitability models for >200 plant species requested by managers. These modeled species are either newly established within the US or species that are not yet established but are being brought into the US via trade. We can use INHABIT to inform where suitable habitat exists to help to prevent species establishment and generate watch lists to prevent secondary spread of invaders. In this talk, we will highlight how INHABIT can inform actions related to EDRR at different scales, from preventing establishment at the national scale to guiding localized surveillance, monitoring, and containment activities. October 17, 2023. Full Abstract.

Native and invasive plants in desert southwest.
Native and invasive plants in desert southwest. 

Advancing a National Early Detection and Rapid Response Framework: progress and opportunities for future collaboration. [Special Session]

FORT scientists participating in this session include Kaylin Clements (session co-organizer) and Aimee Agnew (presenter). Agnew, one of multiple invasive species scientists presenting during this session, will present on Siren: The National Early Detection and Rapid Response Information System, an online platform for knitting together information products and tools that support a National EDRR Framework.

Overview: A national early detection and rapid response (EDRR) framework for invasive species is a coordinated and strategic set of actions to find and eradicate initial invasive species infestations before they establish, spread and cause harm. Federal and non-federal entities have long called for such a framework to complement existing systems in place for agricultural pests and pathogens. To help advance the framework, the Department of the Interior (DOI) is working with partners to identify, enhance, and collaborate on EDRR activities, build new tools, and support coordinated processes to proactively find and eradicate new invasive species. This session will provide an overview of projects initiated in 2022 that serve as the institutional architecture of the framework, introduce related projects beginning in 2023, and describe projects envisioned in future years. The session will also engage participants in exploring opportunities for further EDRR collaborations to strengthen framework planning and implementation. October 17, 2023. Full Session Abstract.

Asian carp removal in Missouri
USGS and partners remove 240,000 pounds of invasive carp from Creve Coeur Lake in Maryland Heights, Missouri.

Global Distributions Predict Habitat Suitability for Recent Invaders in the U.S. 

Presenter: Keana Shadwell

Overview: When habitat suitability models are created using global data from the native ranges of potential invaders, they can provide managers with a better understanding of the suitability for local invasive establishment. Many recent invaders have too few recorded occurrences within the U.S. to fit models with data from the U.S. alone, but habitat suitability models created using global occurrences can provide information about suitability for a species within the U.S. We are extending the Invasive Species Habitat Tool (INHABIT), created by a joint effort among land managers and researchers at the USGS, to include habitat suitability maps for new and emerging invasive plant species identified by managers or horizon scanning efforts. Wavyleaf basketgrass (Oplismenus undulatifolius) has previously been requested by managers for inclusion in INHABIT, and here, we use this species as a case study of what can be learned from global habitat suitability models. October 17, 2023.

photo of wavyleaf basketgrass
Invasive wavyleaf basketgrass covers part of the forest floor in the South River Greenway in Maryland. Credit: Rich Mason/USFWS

Modeling habitat suitability for terrestrial plant abundance across the contiguous United States.

Presenter: Demetra Williams

Overview: Habitat suitability models are a useful tool to predict suitable conditions for establishment and to aid detection of new populations of invasive plants. However, most of these models create predictions for where a species may occur, but not necessarily where it may become abundant.  The Invasive Species Habitat Tool (INHABIT) is a web application that currently displays habitat suitability maps and tabular summaries for over 200 manager-requested invasive terrestrial plants across the contiguous United States. We are updating this tool to add abundance models for species with detailed abundance data available across their ranges. These abundance-based models provide new opportunities to refine watch lists and better identify habitat that might promote high abundance, and therefore greater impact, of invasives. October 17, 2023.

Annual brome species invading a trail across native priairie
Invasion by annual brome grasses (cheatgrass and Japanese brome) on a trail across native prairie in the Northern Great Plains.

Using Collaboration and Partner Engagement to Enhance Invasive Species Information Sharing.

Presenter: Nicole Hernandez

Overview: The National Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) Information System aims to support communication and collaboration of invasive species research and management across the United States and its territories. Here, we will highlight the methods and tools used to guide partner engagement, discuss how feedback from partners allows us to identify gaps in information access and information flow, and pinpoint opportunities for addressing these gaps through the National EDRR Information System. Additionally, we will showcase how partner feedback has been used to inform decisions in the design and creation of the Information System thus far. With this, we hope to demonstrate the importance of partner engagement within a large-scale initiative and provide insights into effective strategies for engaging and collaborating with a variety of partner groups. October 17, 2023.

NEDRRIS Conceptual Diagram
A conceptual diagram of the National Early Detection and Rapid Response Information System.


Phenology forecasting tools for detection and management of invasive annual grasses.

Presenter: Janet Prevéy

Overview: Anticipating the timing of plant phenological stages that are susceptible to management over vast landscapes is difficult, as phenology can vary greatly over time and space. To address this challenge, we created range-wide phenology forecasts for the problematic invasive annual grass cheatgrass (Bromus tectorum). Phenology forecasts based on these models can be used by managers to help make decisions about when to time management actions such as grazing to reduce undesirable invasive grasses and promote biodiversity in grasslands; to predict the timing of greatest fire risk after annuals grasses dry out; and to anticipate changes in annual grass phenology with climate change. October 18, 2023. Full Session Details and Abstract.

Timelapse camera imagery of cheatgrass growing over time
Timelapse camera imagery of cheatgrass growing over time after the Mullen fire in southern Wyoming.

Future Aquatic Invaders of the Northeast U.S.: How Climate Change and Natural History Could Bring Southern and Western Species North.

Presenter: Grace Henderson

Overview: To effectively anticipate, prevent, and respond to the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS), resource managers require predictions of future range shifts as a result of climate change. Habitat suitability models can demonstrate the risk of establishment of AIS in currently uninvaded regions, but the accuracy and utility of habitat suitability models is limited by the relevance and quality of the input data. Historically, a lack of high-resolution measurements of freshwater habitats on a national scale for current and future climate conditions has hindered model development. To address these resource gaps, we are developing a suite of current and future freshwater habitat predictors for the contiguous US and modeling plant, invertebrate, and fish AIS to predict habitat suitability in the Northeast region. October 18, 2023. Full Abstract.

Two fish being bothered by invasive sea lampreys.

Make the connection: the next generation invasive species expert database.

Presenter: Aimee Agnew

Overview: The Invasive Species Experts Database is being developed through a partnership between the Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force (ANSTF) and USGS's Siren program. Stemming from the need to modernize and update the ANSTF's aquatic invasive species experts database, the Invasive Species Experts Database will be expanded to include both aquatic and terrestrial species experts and a broad range of professionals from multiple disciplines relevant to invasive species practitioners, such as invasive species management, planning, economics, analysis, and outreach. October 19, 2023.

Sampling for aquatic invasive species in the Greater Yellowstone Area.
Sampling for aquatic invasive species in the Greater Yellowstone Area.

Modeling the distribution of invasive tegu lizards in North America under climate change scenarios: Implications for invasion threat.

Presenter: Amanda Kissel

Overview: There are three species of tegu lizards native to South America and popular in the pet trade that have a high invasion potential in the United States. We used occurrence points from the native range of each species to develop species distribution models across their native range and the United States under current and future climate scenarios (2°C and 4°C warming). Under current climate conditions, each species generally fills different climatic niches in their native ranges, but together have the potential to occupy extensive areas in North America. Under predicted climate change, suitable habitat increases for all three species. Collectively, these findings underscore that climate change will likely compound invasion threats that could outpace effective managerial responses. October 19, 2023. Full Abstract.

Invasive black and white tegu lizards (Salvator merianae).
USGS researcher holding an invasive black and white tegu lizard (Salvator merianae). 

Understanding gaps in early detection of and rapid response to invasive species in the United States: a literature review and bibliometric analysis.

Presenter: Amy Wray

Overview: Concepts regarding invasive species establishment patterns and eradication possibilities have long been a topic of invasion biology, though the specific terminology referring to early detection of and rapid response to invasive species (EDRR) became established in scientific literature starting in the early 2000s. Since then, the field of EDRR has expanded to include a suite of detection, planning, and management tools. By conducting a systematic literature review, we attempt to characterize the field of EDRR in the United States and its territories as reflected by a total of 288 peer-reviewed publications. Considering the continued advocation for a centralized national EDRR information system, the results of our literature review suggest that providing improved access to data, decision support tools, and other informational resources represents a key opportunity for improving EDRR capabilities. October 19, 2023. Full Abstract.

Conceptual network diagram for Siren
A conceptual network diagram for the National Early Detection and Rapid Response Information System.

Lastly, the Ecosystems Mission Area will be hosting a table throughout the conference. Stop by to meet our scientists and learn more about all the great invasive species research going on at USGS!

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