Risk Assessment

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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 critical to effectively manage invasive species.

eDNA testing kit

Filtering stream water to collect environmental DNA from stream amphibians. (Credit: Matthew Laramie. Public domain.)

An investigation of aquatic invasive species in pristine sites in the Greater Yellowstone Area

Aquatic invasive species (AIS) are aquatic organisms that move into ecosystems beyond their natural, historic range and cause severe and irreversible damage to the habitats they invade. The threat of AIS introduction is especially high in the Greater Yellowstone Area, as humans from all over the world come to see the natural features and wildlife of the region. Early detection increases the possibility of eliminating or controlling AIS and minimizing their impacts to Greater Yellowstone habitats.

 

Asian Carp Risk Assessment and Life History

Increased threat of Asian carp entering the Great Lakes and spreading to other basins such as the Upper Mississippi River and Ohio River basins, has led to increased prevention and control efforts since 2010. USGS Asian carp biology and life history research has led to the development of models, tools and strategies to better understand the risk of Asian carp establishment and survival.

 

Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans (Bsal) Surveillance

NWHC Scientists and partners have developed risk assessments for Batrachochytrium salamandrivorans(Bsal) in the United States and have begun sampling high-risk locations for the fungus.

 

Predicting the Next High-Impact Insect Invasion

Although most introduced insects are relatively benign, some become high-impact pests causing widespread ecological and economic damage. A group of USGS, Forest Service, and university scientists are working together to study how ecology and evolution might be used to understand when introduced insects become high-impact. 

 

Using Environmental DNA for Burmese Python Detection Probabilities and Range-Delimitation in Southern Florida

Current tools for detection of Burmese pythons in South Florida have resulted in low detection rates. Environmental DNA - eDNA - has shown to be effective at detecting these invasive snakes, and can help to determine range limits for the species, information that is critical for management and control efforts. 

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