Mission Areas

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

Find Information

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.

Watch the video

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

Image shows a coiled python on a wooden table
September 22, 2016

Burmese pythons have been found on Key Largo.

Photo of a USGS scientist measuring of flow of water around the barge in Illinois.
June 14, 2016

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.

Close up photo of juvenile brown treesnake on branch.
March 3, 2016

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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Black and white Tegu lizard in the Florida Everglades grass.
Date Published: November 7, 2017
Status: Active

Find out more about invasive species in the Everglades such as the burmese python and black and white tegus.

Head-on view of a male mouflon staring directly back at the camera
Date Published: November 7, 2017
Status: Active

Find out more about invasive species in the Pacific islands such as brown treesnake, invasive mammals (mouflon, feral pigs, rats, and mongoose), plants, ants, and yellowjacket wasps.

Invasive Tamarisk or saltcedar as it is known, growing on the side of a river.
Date Published: November 7, 2017
Status: Active

Find out more about invasive species in the western U.S. such as cheatgrass, tamarisk, and buffelgrass.

Brown treesnake
Date Published: November 7, 2017
Status: Active

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. 

Image: Sea Lamprey Parasitic
Date Published: November 7, 2017
Status: Active

Tracking the establishment and spread of existing and new invasive species is critical to effectively manage invasive species.

Lake Trout with attached sea lamprey
Date Published: November 7, 2017
Status: Active

Find out more about invasive species in the midwest such as asian carp, sea lamprey, and phragmites.

Phragmites, an invasive grass
Date Published: November 7, 2017
Status: Active

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.   

Image: American Bullfrog
Date Published: November 7, 2017
Status: Active

Once invasive species are established, how should they be managed?

Image: Invasive Phragmites australis
Date Published: July 13, 2017
Status: Active

Addressing a large-scale regional issue such as controlling a persistent invasive plant like Phragmites requires broad cross-sector coordination. Little progress is made and cost efficiencies are reduced when each entity works independently.  The highly successful Great Lakes Phragmites Collaborative builds collaboration and facilitates communication on a regional level with a common agenda...

Boat trolling for zebra mussels
Date Published: June 10, 2017
Status: Active

Invasive zebra and quagga mussels (Dreissena polymorpha and D. rostriformis bugensis, respectively) are causing significant ecological and economic impacts and the scope of these impacts has increased as they continue to spread across North America. The USGS conducts science to inform management actions for controlling and mitigating the impacts of invasive mussels.  Studies...

Blue tilapia (Oreochromis aureus)
Date Published: March 22, 2017

22-23 March 2017 - Ten teams of fishery biologists sampled 28 sites amid unexpected wildfires in the Big Cypress National Preserve over the two day period. On the second day a reporter from the Miami Herald accompanied a ground crew team.

Fish Slam 2016 group
Date Published: March 16, 2017

Dozens of species of non-native fishes are present in the freshwaters of Florida, and new species are discovered each year. Maintaining current information on the geographic ranges of all non-native fishes is a daunting task, as many jurisdictions are involved at the state, federal, and municipal levels. There is a need to coordinate sampling, research and management across jurisdictional...

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Field Guide to the Nonindigenous Marine Fishes of Florida publication cover
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.

USGS science for a changing world logo
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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USGS science for a changing world logo
March 7, 2016

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

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Year Published: 2016

Spatially explicit control of invasive species using a reaction-diffusion model

Invasive species, which can be responsible for severe economic and environmental damages, must often be managed over a wide area with limited resources, and the optimal allocation of effort in space and time can be challenging. If the spatial range of the invasive species is large, control actions might be applied only on some parcels of land, for...

Bonneau, Mathieu; Johnson, Fred A.; Romagosa, Christina M.
Bonneau, M., Johnson, F.A., and Romagosa, C.M., 2016, Spatially explicit control of invasive species using a reaction-diffusion model: Ecological Modelling, v. 337, p. 15-24, http://dx.doi.org/10.1016.j.ecolmodel.2016.05.013.

Year Published: 2011

Novel Tetra-nucleotide Microsatellite DNA Markers for Assessing the Evolutionary Genetics and Demographics of Northern Snakehead (Channa argus) Invading North America

We document the isolation and characterization of 19 tetra-nucleotide microsatellite DNA markers in northern snakehead (Channa argus) fish that recently colonized Meadow Lake, New York City, New York. These markers displayed moderate levels of allelic diversity (averaging 6.8 alleles/locus) and heterozygosity (averaging 74.2%). Demographic...

King, Timothy L.; Johnson, R.L.
Novel Tetra-nucleotide Microsatellite DNA Markers for Assessing the Evolutionary Genetics and Demographics of Northern Snakehead (Channa argus) Invading North America; 2011; Article; Journal; Conservation Genetics Resources; King, Timothy L; Johnson, R.L.

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October 10, 2016

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 portable, rapid and reliable methods and kits such as the one evaluated here will improve the detection of invasive species and pathogens and will improve the ability of resource managers to make timely decisions to prevent, contain, and control invasive species and pathogens. Future efforts will continue the evaluation of the method and kit under field conditions, including fish shipments that might contain invasive carps, and developing procedures and information needed to allow conservation officers and law enforcement agencies to use the kit to prevent illegal transport of Asian carps and other species. Funding for this research was provided by the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative.
 

2016 (approx.)

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 chronicled with time lapse photography. 
 

June 15, 2016

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.

Close up photo of synthetic surrogate eggs in water
January 4, 2016

Synthetic surrogate water-hardened Silver Carp Eggs settled on top of a sediment bed. Laboratory experiments in flowing water demonstrate egg suspension at lower velocities than previously thought. The drift of synthetic eggs at a range of flows was evaluated to provide insight into both suspension of water-hardened Silver Carp eggs and the potential interaction of eggs with the bottom of a river. 

Capturing juvenile bull trout by electroshocking Logging Creek and then transporting them to another lake upstream.
2014 (approx.)

Capturing juvenile bull trout by electroshocking Logging Creek and then transporting them in a backpack up the trail to Grace Lake.

Sea Lamprey Hammond Bay Biological Station
April 11, 2014

Sea Lamprey at the Hammond Bay Biological Statioin in Millersburg, MI

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Photo of a USGS scientist measuring of flow of water around the barge in Illinois.
June 14, 2016

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.

Close up photo of juvenile brown treesnake on branch.
March 3, 2016

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.

A juvenile Broad-banded Watersnake that tested positive for snake fungal disease (SFD) exhibiting ulceration of the skin.
March 1, 2016

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.

USGS science for a changing world logo
February 22, 2016

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.

USGS science for a changing world logo
January 28, 2016

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.

Image: Sea Lamprey Parasitic
January 4, 2016

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.

USGS science for a changing world logo
December 10, 2015

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.

USGS science for a changing world logo
October 29, 2015

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.

Image: Juvenile Silver Carp
September 23, 2015

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.

Image: Snakehead Fish
September 1, 2015

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

Image: Giant African Land Snail
July 9, 2015

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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