Invasive Species Program

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More than 6,500 nonindigenous species are now established in the United States, posing risks to native plants, animals, microorganisms, valued ecosystems, and human and wildlife health. In fact, the current annual environmental, economic, and health-related costs of invasive species exceed those of all other natural disasters combined.

Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) Database

Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) Database

The NAS database is a central repository for spatially referenced biogeographic accounts of introduced aquatic species. The program provides scientific reports, online/realtime queries, spatial data sets, distribution maps, and general in

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Turning to eDNA to Detect Invasive Species

Turning to eDNA to Detect Invasive Species

Adam Sepulveda, research zoologist at the USGS Northern Rocky Mountain Science Center, explains how we are using environmental DNA to detect invasive species.

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Looking for a Particular Species?

USGS scientists study hundreds of invasive species. Here are a few species highlights:

Asian Carp

Burmese Python & Tegus

Brown Treesnake

Cheatgrass, Buffelgrass, Tamarisk

Phragmites

Sea Lamprey

Pacific Island Mammals, Insects, Plants

Investigate Species

News

Date published: September 22, 2016

Burmese Python Hatchlings Seen on Key Largo

Burmese pythons have been found on Key Largo.

Date published: June 14, 2016

Moving Barges Have Potential to Transport Invasive Fish

When a moving barge encounters small fish in the Illinois Waterway there is a possibility that the fish will become trapped in the gap between barges, according to a new study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: March 3, 2016

Brown Treesnake Rapid Response Team Deployed to Saipan after Two Snake Sightings

Two recent reports of two brown treesnakes on Saipan is prompting federal and state officials to urge citizens of Hawaii, Guam and other Pacific Islands to report any sightings of these invasive snakes to authorities. Snakes can be reported by calling (671) 777-HISS or (670) 28-SNAKE.

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Date published: June 22, 2018
Status: Active

White-Nose Syndrome

Since the winter of 2006-07, millions of North American bats have died from white-nose syndrome (WNS). As of September 2015, bats with WNS were confirmed in 26 states and five Canadian provinces.

White-nose syndrome gets its name from the white fungus, Pseudogymnoascus destructans, which infects the skin on the muzzle, ears, and wings of hibernating bats and was ...

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: June 22, 2018
Status: Active

Avian Malaria

Avian malaria is a mosquito-borne disease of birds caused by a protozoan parasite (Plasmodium relictum). P. relictum reproduces in avian red blood cells. If the parasite load is sufficiently high, the bird loses red blood cells (anemia). Because red blood cells are critical for moving oxygen about the body, loss of these cells can lead to progressive weakness and, eventually...

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: June 22, 2018
Status: Active

Rapid ‘Ōhi‘a Death

USGS has been involved in the response to Rapid Ohi’a Death since its detection in 2015, and is part of the multi-organizational Rapid Ohi’a Death Working Group which was formed to share information and coordinate research, resource management and outreach activities.

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: June 21, 2018
Status: Active

Risk Assessment

USGS research focuses on developing and enhancing capabilities to forecast and predict invasive species establishment and spread. Early detection helps resource managers identify and report new invasive species, especially for cryptic species and those in very low abundance, to better assess risks to natural areas. Tracking the establishment and spread of existing and new invasive species is...

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: June 21, 2018
Status: Active

Native Populations

USGS researchers monitor native populations for threats of invading species to improving understanding of the ecology of invaders and factors in resistance of habitats to invasion.

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: June 21, 2018
Status: Active

Best Management Practices

Best management practices (BMPs) can be used to help prevent the spread of invasive species and help mitigate the consequences of invasive species once they have become established. BMPs provide a framework for natural resource managers to follow to effectively deal with, and prevent the spread of, invasive species.

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: June 20, 2018
Status: Active

Species Reintroduction

The USGS develops strategies and techniques to understand and facilitate restoration of native species and habitats affected by invasive species.  This is critical because control without restoration can leave the ecosystem vulnerable to subsequent reinvasion by the same or additional invasive species.  

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: June 20, 2018
Status: Active

Habitat Restoration

The USGS develops strategies and techniques to understand and facilitate restoration of native species and habitats affected by invasive species. This is critical because control without restoration can leave the ecosystem vulnerable to subsequent reinvasion by the same or additional invasive species.The USGS develops strategies and techniques to understand and facilitate restoration of native...

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: June 20, 2018
Status: Active

Integrated Pest Management / Adaptive Management

A focus of USGS research is to integrate control strategies where applicable to empower land and water
managers to respond rapidly to a wide variety of new invasions across the United States.

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: May 24, 2018
Status: Active

Invasive Aquatic Plants

Invasive aquatic species clog waterways and are a concern for water managers. Once established, invasive aquatic species impact local ecosystems, recreation, and impede travel. As part of the USGS effort to empower our partners (Interior, Federal and State agencies), the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species database team has botanists ...

Date published: May 24, 2018
Status: Active

Invasive Grasses, Vegetation, and Weeds

Invasive plants (e.g. leafy spurge, cheatgrass, brome, and buffelgrass) have dramatic impacts on Western landscapes through increased fire vulnerability, changes in ecosystem structure and diminished livestock grazing value. USGS researchers are working with DOI land managers, and federal and state partners to find solutions to this growing problem.

Contacts: Earl Campbell
Date published: May 23, 2018
Status: Active

Invasive Fish

Invasive fish cause significant economic losses and diminish opportunities for beneficial
uses of valued aquatic resources. Costly effects include harm to fisheries (e.g., Asian carp, snakeheads, whirling disease, and hemorrhagic septicemia). USGS research is focused on invasive fish spread and distribution, genetic and population impacts of invasives, hybridization between native and non...

Contacts: Earl Campbell
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Date published: January 30, 2017

Field Guide to the Nonindigenous Marine Fishes of Florida

The purpose of this field guide is to provide information on nonindigenous (i.e., non-native) fishes that have been observed in Florida’s marine waters.

Date published: March 4, 2016

Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database (NAS)

The NAS provides spatially referenced biogeographic accounts of aquatic species introduced into the United States. The NAS allows for real-time queries, has regional contact information, species accounts and general information. Sign up for species-specific email alerts. Special maps available for zebra and quagga mussels, Asian carp and lionfish.

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Date published: May 21, 2018

Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Quagga Mussel Sightings Map

Interactive map of the distribution of quagga mussels in North America. This map is provided by the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species program.

Date published: May 21, 2018

Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Zebra Mussel Sightings Map

Interactive map of the distribution of zebra mussels in North America. This map is provided by the USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species program.

Date published: March 7, 2016

Nonindigeneous Aquatic Species (NAS) Database Search

Multiple search functions: State, major drainage area (HUC2), drainage area (HUC6), drainage area (HUC8), Zebra Mussel Collections, and fact sheets.

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USGS
December 31, 2018

Cuban treefrog - Osteopilus septentrionalis

Can you hear the difference between the non-native Cuban treefrog and two common Louisiana native treefrogs? Cuban treefrogs’ call is distinctive. Biologist Paul Moler of the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission recorded them in South Florida. Credit: Paul Moler, used with permission.

July 11, 2018

Four Examples of Nest Predation by Rats - Hawaii Volcanoes National

Black rats were unintentionally introduced to Hawai’i in the late 1800s, most likely as hitchhikers on trading vessels. Since their introduction, they have disrupted native ecosystems by destroying native plants, eating native arthropods, and depredating bird nests. Black rats have contributed to population declines and species extinctions of Hawaiian forest birds, and

...
July 11, 2018

Four Examples of Nest Predation by Rats (Short)

Black rats were unintentionally introduced to Hawai’i in the late 1800s, most likely as hitchhikers on trading vessels. Since their introduction, they have disrupted native ecosystems by destroying native plants, eating native arthropods, and depredating bird nests. Black rats have contributed to population declines and species extinctions of Hawaiian forest birds, and

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USGS scientist holding an invasive Bighead Carp
June 1, 2018

Invasive Bighead Carp Caught Near Joliet, IL

USGS hydrologist Jim Duncker prepares to sample liver tissue from an invasive bighead carp caught on the lower Des Plaines River near Joliet, IL.  The USGS is working with other partner agencies and university researchers to keep the invasive species from becoming established in the Great Lakes.

1985-2018 Lion fish invasion. Ecosystems Mission Area. Wetlands and Aquatic Research Center
May 16, 2018

1985-2018 Lionfish Invasion

Lionfish invasion (1985-2018). Lionfish invaded US Atlantic coastal waters, the Caribbean Sea, and the Gulf of Mexico with unprecedented, alarming speed. Though reports of sightings date back to the 1980s, it is only recently that the species has exploded in numbers and range. In fact, the lionfish invasion is the 

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Asian carp removal in Missouri
February 23, 2018

Asian Carp Removal in Missouri

In 2018, USGS and partners completed an incredible feat against a harmful aquatic invasive species when over 240,000 pounds of invasive Silver Carp and Bighead Carp were removed from Creve Coeur Lake in Maryland Heights, Missouri.

October 31, 2017

USGS Hammond Bay Biological Station Building Demo Time Lapse Video

Out with the old, in with the new! A state-of-the-art aquatic science laboratory is being built on the shores of Lake Huron at the USGS Hammond Bay Biological Station (HBBS), one of seven field stations of the USGS Great Lakes Science Center, operated in partnership with the Great Lakes Fishery Commission. To make way for the new laboratory, four old buildings on the HBBS

...
Expressing lamprey feces
March 6, 2017

Expressing lamprey feces

USGS scientist Nick Johnson isn’t afraid to get dirty. Here he is expressing green feces from a parasitic sea lamprey. DNA in the feces may help USGS scientists discover the identity of sea lamprey’s last meal. 

Invasive black and white tegu lizards (Salvator merianae).
October 26, 2016

Invasive black and white tegu lizards (Salvator merianae).

Invasive black and white tegu lizards (Salvator merianae). USGS is working on development of tools for the detection and capture of invasive reptiles in Florida.

October 10, 2016

Detecting Invasive Species in the Field: Portable eDNA Screening Tool

The USGS field tested the use of a portable hand-held kit for the detection of the environmental DNA (eDNA) of Asian carps (bighead carp and silver carp) in water samples as part of on-going invasive species detection research. The goals of the USGS-led research are to develop a method and kit that can be used on-site to detect Asian carp eDNA within one hour. Developing

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September 6, 2016

USGS Hammond Bay Biological Station Renovation — Time Lapse

Watch as the USGS Hammond Bay Biological Station water tank and pump house are constructed from the ground up! This short video features time lapse photography of the 1-million gallon water tank and pump house constructed to supply water to a state-of-the-art aquatic science laboratory. Laboratory construction will occur over the next several years and will also be

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June 15, 2016

The Phragmites Adaptive Management Framework (PAMF)

This is an introductory video to an adaptive management approach for the invasive plant Phragmites australis in the Great Lakes basin. An adaptive management framework is an iterative process of robust decision making aimed at reducing uncertainty over time, for a variety of stakeholders with differing backgrounds and interests, via system monitoring.

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Date published: September 22, 2016

Burmese Python Hatchlings Seen on Key Largo

Burmese pythons have been found on Key Largo.

Date published: June 14, 2016

Moving Barges Have Potential to Transport Invasive Fish

When a moving barge encounters small fish in the Illinois Waterway there is a possibility that the fish will become trapped in the gap between barges, according to a new study by the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service and the U.S. Geological Survey.

Date published: March 3, 2016

Brown Treesnake Rapid Response Team Deployed to Saipan after Two Snake Sightings

Two recent reports of two brown treesnakes on Saipan is prompting federal and state officials to urge citizens of Hawaii, Guam and other Pacific Islands to report any sightings of these invasive snakes to authorities. Snakes can be reported by calling (671) 777-HISS or (670) 28-SNAKE.

Date published: March 1, 2016

Snake Fungal Disease Found in Louisiana

Snake fungal disease, or SFD, a disease causing high mortality rates in some species of snakes, has been found in Louisiana for the first time, according to a new study by U.S. Geological Survey scientists. SFD now has been confirmed in at least 16 states in the Eastern and Midwestern United States.

Date published: February 22, 2016

Deadly Amphibian Fungus Abroad Threatens Certain U.S. Regions

The areas of the United States that are most at risk of a potentially invasive salamander fungus are the Pacific coast, the southern Appalachian Mountains and the mid-Atlantic regions, according to a recently published U.S. Geological Survey report.

Date published: January 28, 2016

Process Changes for Reporting Sightings of Asian Carp, other Non-Native Aquatic Species

Boaters, swimmers or other members of the public who see Lionfish, Asian carp, Zebra mussels or any other invasive or non-native plant or animal species have two options to report sightings.

Date published: January 4, 2016

Sea Lamprey Mating Pheromone Registered by U.S. Environmental Protection Agency as First Vertebrate Pheromone Biopesticide

Ann Arbor, MI – The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency registered a sea lamprey mating pheromone, 3kPZS, as the first ever vertebrate pheromone biopesticide in late December, 2015. Like an alluring perfume, the mating pheromone is a scent released by male sea lampreys to lure females onto nesting sites.

Date published: December 10, 2015

Continued Decline of the Northern Spotted Owl Associated with the Invasive Barred Owl, Habitat Loss, and Climate Variation

CORVALLIS, Ore. – Northern spotted owl populations are declining in all parts of their range in the Pacific Northwest, according to research published in The Condor. Based on data from 11 study areas across Washington, Oregon and northern California, a rangewide decline of nearly 4 percent per year was estimated from 1985 to 2013.

Date published: October 29, 2015

Invasive Northern Snakehead Carries Bacteria as Bad as its Bite

The invasive northern snakehead fish found in the mid-Atlantic area is now cause for more concern, potentially bringing diseases into the region that may spread to native fish and wildlife, according to a team of U.S. Geological Survey scientists.

Date published: September 23, 2015

Invasive Silver Carp Respond Strongly to Sound

Silver carp, a species of invasive Asian carp, demonstrated a strong aversion to certain noises during a recent study on the potential use of sound for silver carp control.

Date published: September 1, 2015

EarthWord: Anthropogenic

Scientists use the word “anthropogenic” in referring to environmental change caused or influenced by people, either directly or indirectly.

Date published: July 9, 2015

Snail Trail for Parasites Expands

The invasive giant African land snail is expanding its range in Miami, and with it, the range of the parasitic rat lungworm, according to new U.S. Geological Survey led research.

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