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You are here: Home / Manager's Tool Kit / Vectors and Pathways / Pathways
Manager's Tool Kit
Vectors and Pathways


Provides resources for the movement of invasive species, including both natural and man-made pathways.

New Pathway for Invasive Species -- Science Teachers (Aug 7, 2012)
ScienceDaily; Oregon State University.
A survey of teachers from the United States and Canada found that one out of four educators who used live animals as part of their science curriculum released the organisms into the wild after they were done using them in the classroom. Also see Reducing the Risk of Introducing or Spreading Nonindigenous Plants, Animals, and Microorganisms through Science and Engineering Fair Projects (PDF | 331 KB).

Invader of the Month (Aug 2012): Classroom Pets and Projects
Maryland Invasive Species Council.
Keep, don't release! Whether it's something you acquired from school or the fair, keep it or rehome it, but don't release it into the wild. Past science projects can make fascinating pets. If you can't keep it, humanely dispose of it rather than release it.

Federal Government

Invasive Animal Species in Marine and Estuarine Environments: Biology and Ecology (Jan 2005; PDF | 1.6 MB) (Chapter 4: Pathways of Introduction)
DOD. USACE. Engineer Research and Development Center.

USDA. Animal and Plant and Health Inspection Service.

Invasive Species Pathways
DOI. Fish and Wildlife Service. Alaska Region.

Invasive Species Pathways Working Group: Focus Group Conference Report and Pathways Ranking Guide (June-August 2005) (Jul 2006; PDF | 1.08 MB)
Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force.
Published by: National Invasive Species Council, Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force, and NISC Prevention Committee Pathways Work Team

Invasive Species Pathways Working Group: Pathways Ranking Guide and Proceedings Report, Focus Group Conference (Jun 21-22, 2005) (Dec 2005; DOC | 3.33 MB)
USDA. NAL. National Invasive Species Information Center.
Published by: USDA. Animal and Plant Health Inspection Service; DOI; DOC.

Invasive Species Pathways Team Final Report (Oct 29, 2003; DOC | 315 KB)
USDA. NAL. National Invasive Species Information Center.
Published by: Invasive Species Advisory Committee. Pathways Task Team.

Reducing the Risk of Introducing or Spreading Nonindigenous Plants, Animals, and Microorganisms through Science and Engineering Fair Projects (PDF | 331 KB)
Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force.
Prepared by: Education and Outreach Working Group on the Gulf and South Atlantic Regional Panel

Training and Implementation Guide for Pathway Definition, Risk Analysis and Risk Prioritization (Jan 2007; PDF | 1.36 MB)
USDA. NAL. National Invasive Species Information Center.
Published by: Aquatic Nuisance Species Task Force (ANSTF) and National Invasive Species Council (NISC) Prevention Committee via the Pathways Work Team.

The Baitworm Trade as a Vector for Invasions in Estuarine and Coastal Systems
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.

State Government

Pathways - Washington Invasive Species Education (WISE)
Washington State Recreation and Conservation Office. Washington Invasive Species Council.


American Fisheries Society Position on Introductions of Aquatic Species (PDF | 94 KB)
Virginia Polytechnic Institute and State University; American Fisheries Society.

Preventing Aquatic Species Invasions in the Mid-Atlantic: Outcome-Based Actions in Vector Management - Aquatic Invasive Species in the Mid-Atlantic Vector Workshop Findings (2010; PDF | 3.3 MB)
Maryland Sea Grant.
Maryland Sea Grant hosted a workshop in 2009 in Baltimore, Maryland that focused on examining and controlling exotic species vectors. The workshop, sponsored in partnership with the Mid-Atlantic Panel on Aquatic Invasive Species, drew experts from throughout the region and beyond. Participants detailed specific research, management, and education and outreach actions for the major AIS vectors, or pathways, in the Mid-Atlantic.
See also: Aquatic Invasive Species for additional information about the risks in Maryland and the Mid-Atlantic.

DON'T DUMP BAIT: Marine Bait Worms as a Potential Vector of Non-Native Species (2009; PDF | 353 KB)
University of Connecticut. Connecticut Sea Grant.
Researchers from the University of Connecticut and SUNY Purchase completed a study that reinforces concerns that live marine bait, such as bait worms, and more particularly, the seaweed or other material they are packed in, can serve as a vector or pathway by which organisms from one region can be introduced into another. The study was funded by the Environmental Protection Agency Long Island Sound Study, with additional support from Connecticut Sea Grant. For the complete study results, see the Long Island Sound Study: EPA Assistance Award Final Report (2009; PDF 183 KB).

Pathways and Prevention
Northeast Marine Introduced Species.

Portals and Pathways: Invasive Species in Louisiana
Tulane University and Xavier University. Center for Bioenvironmental Research.

The Aquarium Trade as an Invasion Pathway in the Pacific Northwest (Feb 2011; PDF | 753 KB)
University of Washington. School of Aquatic and Fishery Sciences. Olden Research Lab.
Published in Fisheries, Vol 36, Issue 2, 2011.


A Pathway Approach Towards Prevention of Movement of Pests and Pathogens with Live Plants in International Trade
International Union of Forest Research Organizations (IUFRO).

Protect Your Ports Against Invasive Species (Sep 1, 2009)
International Union for Conservation of Nature.
A new report Neighborhood Watch: Early Detection and Rapid Response to Biological Invasion Along US Trade Pathways (2009) says accidental introductions of pests and pathogens threaten economic, environmental and public health. The report offers recommendations to improve biosecurity measures at U.S. ports, as well as a possible funding mechanism based upon the "polluter pays" principle. Recommendations include improved coordination between agencies and greater international cooperation. The Neighborhood Watch report follows an earlier volume "Denying Entry: Opportunities to Build Capacity to Prevent the Introduction of Invasive Species and Improve Biosecurity at US Ports" (2007) which addressed the challenges of "regulatory exclusion" of potentially invasive species through trace pathways.

Trade and Invasive Species in the Caribbean: A Universe of Risk (Jul 2009)
International Union for Conservation of Nature.
This report reviews the potential risk of introductions of invasive species through trade related pathways in the insular Caribbean, with a particular emphasis on larger islands and on the potential impacts of trade-related introductions of invasives on forests.


Closing the Pathways of Aquatic Invasive Species across North America: Overview and Resource Guide (2003; PDF | 298 KB)
North American Commission for Environmental Cooperation.
North American Agenda for Action: 2003-2005

Firewood: Buy It Where You Burn It
Nature Conservancy.

Forests Under Threat from Exotic Earthworm Invasion: Study Shows Humans to Blame for Spread of Non-Native Species (Sep 1, 2011)
Springer Science and Business Media.

High-risk air routes for invasive species revealed (Apr 11, 2007)
Note: Supporting scientific journal article -
Tatem, Andrew J., and Simon I. Hay. 2007. Climatic similarity and biological exchange in the worldwide airline transportation network. Proceedings of the Royal Society B: Biological Sciences (published online).

Horticulture as a pathway of invasive plant introductions in the United States (Feb 2001)
BioScience 51(2): 103-13.

International trade imperils U.S. plants, animals and crops (Feb 19, 2000)
American Association for the Advancement of Science - EurekAlert!.

Live seafood trade linked to species invasions: 'Fresh' shellfish in markets still alive enough to spawn (Sep 23, 2003)
Society for Conservation Biology.

MetroInvasive - Globalization, Metropolitan Areas, Invasive Species
Collaborative project between Federal Agencies and Universities researchers. Provides a perspective that considers urban areas as hubs of human-mediated invasions in natural and managed ecosystems and provides resources to enhance our understanding of the role of international trade in the dissemination of invasive species. Contains maps of hot spots for human-mediated invasions where early detection strategies could be implemented.

Movement of invasive aquatic plants into Minnesota (USA) through horticultural trade (Jul 2004) (USDA access through DigiTop)
ScienceDirect; Biological Conservation.
Academic Study on Horticulture as a Pathway: Jun 2004, a study by Kristine Maki and Susan Galatowitsch in the Journal, Biological Conservation (Volume 118, Jun 2004, pp 389-396) entitled, "Movement of invasive aquatic plants into Minnesota through horticultural trade," reported that horticultural trade is implicated in the introduction of invasive aquatic plants over long-range distances into new regions of the United States. The results of the study found that:

  • 93% of the orders received from aquatic plant vendors contained a plant or animal species not requested in the order
  • 90% percent of the purchases contained plant receipts not ordered
  • 80% included additional animal receipts
  • 63% had algae, moss or fungi associated with the ordered plants, and
  • 43% contained unordered seeds.

Nothing is Perfect: Biodegradable Packing Material as Food and Transportation for a Museum Pest, Lasioderma serricorne (F.) (Coleoptera: Anobiidae) (Sep 2010)
The Coleopterists Bulletin 64(3): 256-257.

On the Loose: Non-Native Species Could Escape from Spanish Zoos (Apr 16, 2010)
Conservation Magazine. Journal Watch Online.
A survey of zoos in Spain has revealed that many animal enclosures are not secure, increasing the risk that non-native and invasive species will make their way into the wild.

Unlikely Stowaways: Weed Seed Travel to Faraway Places on Cars, Trucks and ATVs (Oct 19, 2011)
Weed Science Society of America.
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Last Modified: Oct 09, 2016
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