Robert Reed, Ph.D.
Robert N. Reed is a Wildlife Biologist who currently serves as Chief of the Invasive Species Science Branch and Project Leader for the Invasive Reptiles Project at the Fort Collins Science Center. His research focuses on prevention, control, and containment of invasive reptiles in Florida, Guam, and elsewhere.
- Ph.D. Auburn University, Biological Sciences, 2001
- Fulbright Fellow, University of Sydney, Australia, 2000-2001
- M.S. Arizona State University, Zoology, 1995
- B.A. University of California at Berkeley, Zoology/English, 1991
- 2012-present - Chief, Invasive Species Science Branch, USGS-FORT
- 2006-2012 - Research Wildlife Biologist, USGS-FORT
- 2003-2006 - Assistant Professor (Biology), Southern Utah University, Cedar City UT
- 2001-2003 - Post-doctoral Associate, Savannah River Ecology Laboratory, Aiken SC
Science and Products
Invasive species are considered to be second only to habitat degradation in terms of negative impacts on the Earth’s ecosystems, and our scientists make up a significant proportion of the global expertise in the rapidly-growing problem of invasive reptiles.
The Daniel Beard Center in Everglades National Park provides the base for most of the field work done on the control of invasive reptiles by USGS Fort Collins Science Center staff. The team works in Everglades National Park, Big Cypress National Preserve, Crocodile Lake National Wildlife Refuge, and other parts of the Greater Everglades Ecosystem focusing on, among other species of concern, control and containment of the Burmese python and Argentine tegu.
USGS scientists and staff associated with the Brown Treesnake Project are co-located at the Guam National Wildlife Refuge at the northern end of Guam in the western Pacific Ocean. Project staff work on developing and testing control tools for invasive brown treesnakes, as well as understanding their impacts on Guam's ecosystems. Project staff also lead the multi-agency Brown Treesnake Rapid Response Team, which responds to invasive snake sightings throughout the Pacific and trains personnel from cooperating agencies to increase the capacity of the team. The Brown Treesnake Project partners include DOI Office of Insular Affairs, USDA National Wildlife Research Center and Wildlife Services, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, and State and Island governments.
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 new incipient populations, to maintain rapid response capacity, and understand the population biology and habitat use of invasive reptiles to inform management options.
Scientists with the USGS Brown Treesnake Project conduct research on this snake species, including control tool development and testing, ecological impacts, and early detection methods. USGS holds Brown Treesnake Rapid Response Team training courses on Guam throughout the year to develop the skills needed to effectively respond to snake sightings in island environments. Training covers snake capture and handling, search image development at night, response logistics, search area and trapping layout and a host of other practical skill sets.
The Brown Treesnake is a highly destructive reptile species that has extirpated many native species of birds, bats, and lizards from the U.S. Territory of Guam. For more than two decades branch scientists with the Invasive Reptile Project have developed, validated, and tested the feasibility of Brown Treesnake control and suppression at various spatial scales.
On an island largely devoid of native vertebrate seed dispersers, we monitored forest succession for seven years following ungulate exclusion from a 5-hectare area and adjacent plots with ungulates still present.
The gold tegu, Tupinambis teguixin (Linnaeus, 1758) sensu lato (Squamata: Teiidae): evidence for an established population in Florida
Gold tegus, Tupinambis teguixin (Linnaeus, 1758), are generalist predators from South America and are ecologically similar to Argentine black and white tegus (Salvator merianae), a successful invader in Florida. We trapped gold tegus in Broward and Miami-Dade counties, Florida, USA. In Miami-Dade County, collection occurred from 2008...Edwards, Jake R.; Ketterlin, Jennifer K.; Rochford, Michael R.; Irwin, Rodney; Krysko, Kenneth L.; Duquesnel, James G.; Mazzotti, Frank J.; Reed, Robert
Salvator merianae (Argentine Tegu). Attempted Predation.
No abstract available.Hanslowe, Emma; Calafiore, Charles V.; Sykes, Kathryn N.; Van Ee, Noah; Falk, Bryan; Yackel, Amy; Reed, Robert
A validation of 11 body-condition indices in a giant snake species that exhibits positive allometry
Body condition is a gauge of the energy stores of an animal, and though it has important implications for fitness, survival, competition, and disease, it is difficult to measure directly. Instead, body condition is frequently estimated as a body condition index (BCI) using length and mass measurements. A desirable BCI should accurately reflect...Falk, Bryan; Snow, Ray W.; Reed, Robert N.
Urbanization may limit impacts of an invasive predator on native mammal diversity
AimOur understanding of the effects of invasive species on faunal diversity is limited in part because invasions often occur in modified landscapes where other drivers of community diversity can exacerbate or reduce the net impacts of an invader. Furthermore, rigorous assessments of the effects of invasive species on native communities that...Reichert, Brian E.; Sovie, Adia R.; Udell, Brad J.; Hart, Kristen M.; Borkhataria, Rena R.; Bonneau, Mathieu; Reed, Robert; McCleery, Robert A.
Expert elicitation, uncertainty, and the value of information in controlling invasive species
We illustrate the utility of expert elicitation, explicit recognition of uncertainty, and the value of information for directing management and research efforts for invasive species, using tegu lizards (Salvator merianae) in southern Florida as a case study. We posited a post-birth pulse, matrix model in which four age classes of tegus are...Johnson, Fred A.; Smith, Brian J.; Bonneau, Mathieu; Martin, Julien; Romagosa, Christina; Mazzotti, Frank J.; Waddle, J. Hardin; Reed, Robert; Eckles, Jennifer Kettevrlin; Vitt, Laurie J.
Prospects and limitations of citizen science in invasive species management: A case study with Burmese pythons in Everglades National Park
Citizen-science programs have the potential to contribute to the management of invasive species, including Python molurus bivittatus (Burmese Python) in Florida. We characterized citizen-science–generated Burmese Python information from Everglades National Park (ENP) to explore how citizen science may be useful in this effort. As an initial step,...Falk, Bryan; Snow, Raymond W.; Reed, Robert
Thamnophis marcianus (Checkered Gartersnake). USA: Arizona: Yuma and La Paz Counties: Colorado River
No abstract available.Munes, Ryan; Reed, Robert; Falk, Bryan; Lauren Hall, Ashley; Holycross, Andrew
Supersize me: Remains of three white-tailed deer (Odocoileus virginianus) in an invasive Burmese python (Python molurus bivittatus) in Florida
Snakes have become successful invaders in a wide variety of ecosystems worldwide. In southern Florida, USA, the Burmese python (Python molurus bivittatus) has become established across thousands of square kilometers including all of Everglades National Park (ENP). Both experimental and correlative data have supported a relationship between Burmese...Boback, Scott M.; Snow, Ray W.; Hsu, Teresa; Peurach, Suzanne C.; Dove, Carla J.; Reed, Robert N.
First record of invasive Burmese Python oviposition and brooding inside an anthropogenic structure
We discovered an adult female Python bivittatus (Burmese Python) coiled around a clutch of 25 eggs in a cement culvert in Flamingo, FL, in Everglades National Park. To our knowledge, this is the first record of an invasive Burmese Python laying eggs and brooding inside an anthropogenic structure in Florida. A 92% hatch-success rate suggests that...Hanslowe, Emma; Falk, Bryan; Collier, Michelle A. M.; Josimovich, Jillian; Rahill, Thomas; Reed, Robert
Agkistrodon piscivorus conanti (Florida cottonmouth) Diet
Agkistrodon piscivorus is a generalist predator that feeds on a variety of prey, including snakes (Gloyd and Conant 1990. Snakes of the Agkistrodon Complex: A Monographic Review. Society for the Study of Amphibians and Reptiles, Oxford, Ohio. 614 pp.; Lillywhite et al. 2002. Herpetol. Rev. 33:259–260; Hill and Beaupre 2008. Copeia 2008:105...Grajal-Puche, Alejandro; Josimovich, Jillian; Falk, Bryan; Reed, Robert
Ecology and control of an introduced population of Southern Watersnakes (Nerodia fasciata) in southern California
Native to the southeastern United States, Southern Watersnakes (Nerodia fasciata) are known from two sites in California, but their ecological impacts are poorly understood. We investigated the ecology of Southern Watersnakes in Machado Lake, Harbor City, Los Angeles County, California, including an assessment of control opportunities. We captured...Reed, Robert; Todd, Brian D; Miano, Oliver J.; Canfield, Mark; Fisher, Robert N.; McMartin, Louanne
Integrating early detection with DNA barcoding: species identification of a non-native monitor lizard (Squamata: Varanidae) carcass in Mississippi, U.S.A.
Early detection of invasive species is critical to increasing the probability of successful management. At the primary stage of an invasion, invasive species are easier to control as the population is likely represented by just a few individuals. Detection of these first few individuals can be challenging, particularly if they are cryptic or...Reed, Robert N.; Hopken, Matthew W.; Steen, David A.; Falk, Bryan G.; Piaggio, Antoinette J.