Fort Collins Science Center

Biological Threats and Invasive Species

Invasive, nonnative species of plants, animals, and disease organisms can quickly spread and affect nearly all terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Invasive species have become one of the greatest environmental challenges of the twenty-first century in economic, environmental, and human health costs, with an estimated effect in the United States of more than $120 billion per year. The Invasive Species Science (ISS) Branch provides research and technical assistance relating to management concerns for invasive species, including understanding how these species are introduced, identifying areas vulnerable to invasion, forecasting invasions, and developing control methods. To disseminate this information, branch scientists are developing platforms to share invasive species information with DOI cooperators, other agency partners, and the public. Experts at the Fort Collins Science Center that study biological threats and invasive species also have extensive herpetological and population biology expertise that is applied to harmful reptile invaders such as the Brown Treesnake on Guam and Burmese Python in Florida.

Filter Total Items: 31
Date published: November 10, 2016
Status: Active

Documenting, Mapping, and Predicting Invasive Species Using the Fort Collins Science Center's RAM (Resource for Advanced Modeling)

The Resource for Advanced Modeling room provides a collaborative working environment for up to 20 scientists, supported with networked, wireless computing capability for running and testing various scientific models (e.g., Maxent, Boosted Regression Trees, Logistic Regression, MARS, Random Forest) at a variety of spatial scales, from county to global levels. Models use various predictor layers...

Date published: October 18, 2016
Status: Active

Ecology of Plague

In North America, the flea transmitted plague bacterium (Yersinia pestis) has colonized and altered native animal communities and ecosystems for more than a century. Many species have suffered adverse consequences from plague, perhaps none more than the endangered black-footed ferret. Plague has established within the ranges of all North American prairie dog species, which collectively serve...

Date published: October 17, 2016
Status: Active

Non-invasive Surveillance of Bat Hibernacula to Investigate Potential Behavioral Causes of Mortality Associated with White Nose Syndrome

White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) is a devastating disease that threatens the survival of hibernating bats in North America. Since first documented in the winter of 2005/2006, WNS has spread from a very small area of New York across at least two thousand kilometers and half or more of states and provinces in the U.S. and Canada.

Date published: October 14, 2016
Status: Active

Ecological Investigations of White-Nose Syndrome in Bats

White-Nose Syndrome (WNS) is a devastating disease that threatens the survival of hibernating bats in North America. Since first documented in the winter of 2005/2006, WNS has spread from a very small area of New York across at least two thousand kilometers in half or more of states and provinces in the U.S. and Canada. Over five million bats are estimated to have died during the past decade...

Date published: October 14, 2016
Status: Active

Effects of Soil and Colony Age on Flea Densities

Abundance of fleas is thought to drive rates of plague transmission in the wild. In the complex process of plague maintenance and transmission, fleas as vectors are a potentially weak link in the system that can be exploited. To date, exploiting this link has provided the only stand-alone tools that are operationally effective for managing plague in the black-footed ferret/prairie dog...

Date published: September 21, 2016
Status: Active

External Microbiota of Bats as Potential Bio-control Against Wildlife Diseases

White-nose syndrome (WNS) and/or Pseudogymnoascus destructans (P.d.), the causal agent, has spread westward across 26 states and 5 provinces within the eastern United States and Canada, respectively, over a short period of time. Since its discovery there has been a search to stop the spread of this disease that has killed millions of hibernating bats in its wake. Recent collaborative work by...

Date published: September 13, 2016
Status: Active

White-Nose Syndrome Threatens the Survival of Hibernating Bats in North America

During the winter of 2006–2007, an affliction of unknown origin dubbed “white-nose syndrome” (WNS) began devastating colonies of hibernating bats in a small area around Albany, New York. Colonies of hibernating bats were reduced 80–97 percent at the affected caves and mines that were surveyed. Since then, white-nose syndrome or its causative agent have consistently spread more than 2,000...

Date published: August 8, 2016
Status: Active

WNS Data Management Coordination

White-nose syndrome (WNS) is a disease responsible for unprecedented mortality in hibernating bats in the northeastern U.S. This previously unrecognized disease has spread very rapidly since its discovery in January 2007 and poses a considerable threat to hibernating bats throughout North America. 

Date published: August 8, 2016
Status: Active

Transmission of plague by small mammals at Badlands National Park

Plague was first detected in the southwest corner of Badlands National Park (BADL), and spread northeastward, reaching the northeast corner in 2011. Multiple prairie dog colonies in BADL and Conata Basin have had population collapses from plague since its arrival in the park. Plague is now common throughout BADL (NPS and USFS, unpublished data), and threatens efforts to preserve and manage the...

Date published: August 5, 2016
Status: Active

Environmental DNA (eDNA)

Environmental DNA (eDNA) is organismal DNA that can be found in the environment. Environmental DNA originates from cellular material shed by organisms (via skin, excrement, etc.) into aquatic or terrestrial environments that can be sampled and monitored using new molecular methods. Such methodology is important for the early detection of invasive species as well as the detection of rare and...

Date published: July 7, 2016
Status: Active

Ecology and Control of Invasive Reptiles in Florida

This project involves ongoing development of tools for the detection and capture of invasive reptiles in Florida, with an emphasis on Burmese pythons (Python bivittatus) and Black and white tegu lizards (Salvator merianae). The goals are to reduce the risk of reptile invasions in high-value resources such as Everglades National Park and the Florida Keys, to access early detection methods of...

Date published: July 6, 2016
Status: Active

Brown Treesnake Rapid Response Team

Brown Treesnakes continue to cause major problems for the ecology, economy, and quality of life on Guam. Our scientists conduct research on this snake species, including control tool development and testing, ecological impacts, and early detection methods. We hold Brown Treesnake Rapid Response Team training courses on Guam throughout the year to develop the skills needed to effectively...