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Modeling invasion risk and impacts to inform management responses

Where are invasive species likely to be introduced or become abundant? How should managers respond? On Hawaii and other Pacific Islands numerous invasive species have altered ecosystems, and new species continue to be introduced. Statistical analyses can characterize risk and inform response strategies.

Link to PDF Version. 

Project Hypothesis or Objectives:

Management of invasive species benefits from a biogeographic perspective on the risk of introduction, establishment, and population growth and spread. Student researchers can develop questions related to invasion risk, impacts, and management responses, with projects tailored to interests, time, and existing and desired skill sets. Projects can fit under a research program that applies advanced statistical modeling methods to the study of global change, focusing on Hawaii and other Pacific Islands.

Duration: Up to 12 months

Internship Location: Hawaii National Park, HI

Keywords: Computer/Data Science, Conservation, Ecology/Ecosystems, Geography, Modeling, Population Dynamics, Statistics

Applicable NSF Division: BIO (Environmental Biology, Molecular & Cellular Biosciences, Biological Infrastructure, Integrative Organismal Systems)

Intern Type Preference: Any Type of Intern


The intern will analyze data to understand or predict spatial and/or temporal patterns of invasion. The project can address questions in macroecology, community ecology, population ecology, and decision science. This internship experience can also advance skills in data science and statistics. This includes management of large spatial data in R, and training with cutting-edge statistical methods including spatial modeling, species distribution modeling, machine learning, and deep learning. Projects can leverage USGS computing resources.

Expected Outcome:

Work will advance the scientific and technical skills of the intern while providing them an opportunity to experience a federal research workplace. Student projects will increase the capacity of USGS to address scientific questions of management interest.

Special skills/training Required:

Previous experience with R and basic statistics (e.g., generalized linear models) is necessary.