Early Detection and Rapid Response

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.

Research Highlights

What's the Big Idea? Turning to eDNA to Detect Invasive Species

Video of Adam Sepulveda, USGS research zoologist, explaining how USGS scientists are using environmental DNA — the identification of species through biological information they leave behind in their habitat — to detect invasive species and how this method could change the way scientists find evidence of biodiversity in ecosystems.

USGS Brown Treesnake Laboratory and Rapid Response Team

Scientists with the USGS Brown Treesnake project conduct research on this snake species, including control tool development and validation, ecology and ecological impacts, and early detection methods. The USGS Rapid Response Team was established to help prevent the spread of invasive Brown Treesnakes through screening, risk assessment, outreach, and training for field response efforts.

Documenting, Mapping, and Predicting Invasive Species

Early detection and rapid assessment is a crucial aspect of our national approach to the invasive species threat. USGS Fort Collins Science Center research is striving to create and maintain a national capability to guide effective early detection, rapid assessment, and forecasting of harmful plants, animals, and diseases.


Adaptive invasive species distribution models: A framework for modeling incipient invasions

We conducted a review of biological invasions, species distribution models, and adaptive practices in ecological management, and developed a framework for adaptive, niche-based, invasive species distribution model (iSDM) development and utilization.

Caveats for correlative species distribution modeling

We describe common pitfalls, assumptions, and caveats of correlative species distribution models to help novice users and end users better interpret these models.

Simulating long-term effectiveness and efficiency of management scenarios for an invasive grass

We analyzed alternative management scenarios for African buffelgrass (Pennisetum ciliare syn. Cenchrus ciliaris) at Ironwood Forest National Monument, Arizona using a spatially explicit state-and-transition simulation models implemented in the Tool for Exploratory Landscape Scenario Analyses (TELSA).

Potential utility of environmental DNA for early detection of Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum)

The purpose of this research was to develop and validate a traditional polymerase chain reaction (PCR) assay for the detection of pure and hybridized Eurasian watermilfoil DNA using both laboratory and field experiments.


Top Photo: Brown Treesnake upclose. Photo courtesy of the U.S. Department of Agriculture, Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service.