Over the last year, MAISRC research teams have worked tirelessly in the field, lab, and at their computers to generate and analyze data that is informing evidence-based decisions from the end of your dock to the State Capitol. The incremental steps are making a difference, leading to big wins, and eventually to real-world solutions to aquatic invasive species problems. This year, MAISRC is sharing past year's research highlights in the form of a story map—enjoy an interactive experience, watch project videos, click straight to project pages, and see exactly where research is happening on the map.
Invasive Species Resources
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University of Minnesota. Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center.
University of Minnesota. Minnesota Aquatic Invasive Species Research Center.
It has been a wild year with lots of challenges, but MAISRC is still here and working as hard as ever to develop research-based solutions to reduce the impacts of aquatic invasive species in Minnesota. MAISRC hopes the research highlights included in the report will surprise, inspire, and give you hope.
University of Kentucky. College of Agriculture, Food, and Environment.
The Asian longhorned tick, which preys on a variety of hosts including humans and wild and domestic animals, has been found in Kentucky. This new tick is known to attack animals in large numbers and will be a concern to livestock producers, wildlife enthusiasts and pet owners. The tick has been found in small numbers on elk in Martin County and black bear in Floyd County. It was found in large numbers on a bull in Metcalfe County in the south-central part of the state. Individuals who find a usually large number of ticks on their pet or livestock should contact their local veterinarian. Those who find single ticks they think might be an Asian longhorned tick should work with their county extension agent for agriculture and natural resources to submit the sample to UK entomologists for positive identification.
Pennsylvania State University.
Despite the devastating impact of the invasive emerald ash borer on forests in the eastern and midwestern parts of the United States, climate change will have a much larger and widespread impact on these landscapes by the year 2100, according to researchers.
Duke University. Nicholas School of the Environment.
Coastal marshes that have been invaded by feral hogs recover from disturbances up to three times slower than non-invaded marshes and are far less resilient to sea-level rise, extreme drought and other impacts of climate change, a new study led by scientists at Duke University and the University of Massachusetts Boston (UMB) finds. "Under normal circumstances, marshes can handle and recover from drought or sea level rise, given time, but there is no safety net in place for hog invasions," said Brian Silliman, Rachel Carson Distinguished Professor of Marine Conservation Biology at Duke, who co-authored the study.
University of Florida. IFAS Extension.
Argentine black and white tegus have spread and established populations in and around Florida at a rapid and growing rate demonstrating critical implications for native wildlife, numerous natural areas, and even restoration efforts for Everglades National Park. UF scientists at the Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences (UF/IFAS) and partnering agencies have co-authored the “Growth and Spread of the Argentine Black and White Tegu Population in Florida” illustrating the depth and breadth of the tegu problem. The comprehensive fact sheet details the invasion of the species, the tegu population’s increase, impacts for wildlife and natural areas at stake, interagency goals and efforts to reduce the threat, and the implications of species expansion.
University of Central Florida.
Researchers have published a first- of-its-kind study that shows that near-infrared (NIR) spectrum cameras can help python hunters more effectively track down these invasive snakes, especially at night.
University of Texas at Austin.
The cactus moth has a wingspan of only about an inch, but this invasive insect has the potential to cause largescale agricultural and ecological devastation in Texas, according to the first study of cactus moths in Texas. Researchers at The University of Texas at Austin's Invasive Species Project based at Brackenridge Field Laboratory in Austin have found that four native species of prickly pear cactus — and the species that rely on them — face a serious health threat from the moth.
University of Minnesota Extension.
This past August, a new population of golden clams, Corbicula fluminea, was discovered by twelve-year-old budding conservationist, William Guthrie. The new infestation was found in Briggs Lake (Sherburne County). The discovery of golden clams in Briggs Lake is significant because it is an inland lake with no supplemental heat source. If the clams can survive our winter months, they could also spread and reproduce in additional lakes and rivers. Similar to zebra mussels, infestations of golden clams can clog water intake pipes and alter local ecosystems.
University of Massachusetts - Amherst.
UMass Amherst study finds that invasive species are widely available due to inconsistent regulation. Results of a new study by ecologists at the University of Massachusetts Amherst show that 1,330 nurseries, garden centers and online retailers are still offering hundreds of invasive plant species as ornamental garden plants. This includes 20 species that are illegal to grow or sell nationwide.
The study, “Invaders for sale: the ongoing spread of invasive species by the plant trade industry,” published in Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, shows that existing regulatory and ethical guidelines do not serve to limit the widespread introduction of invasive plants and that more than 60% of the 1,285 plants identified as invasive remain for sale.
Queen's University Belfast (United Kingdom).
Research led by Queen’s University Belfast has shown that invasive species, such as the grey squirrel, European rabbit and Japanese knotweed, have cost the UK economy over £5 billion over the past 40-50 years. This is one of the highest totals in Europe. Invasive species, those introduced and spreading outside of their native range as a result of human activities, are a growing threat to environments worldwide. Environmental impacts of invasive species, one of the main causes of biodiversity loss, are well-studied. However, few studies have summarised their economic impacts. This study is the largest and most up-to-date combination of economic costs of biological invasions in the UK. The results have been published in the journal NeoBiota.
University of Florida. Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences Extension.
Florida is a national and global hot spot for non-native, invasive species. Because researchers and land managers in Florida have been dealing with invasive species for decades, there is an abundance of resources available to the public regarding invasive species. Sometimes, the volume of available information can be confusing. There are five different primary lists of non-native plant species that are referenced in Florida: 1. The Federal Noxious Weed List, 2. The Florida Noxious Weed List, 3. The Florida Prohibited Aquatic Plant List, 4. The Florida Exotic Pest Plant Council (FLEPPC) Plant List, and 5. The UF/IFAS Assessment of Non-Native Plants. This document aims to inform the general public, land managers, researchers, local and state policy makers, and others who seek guidance in accessing regulatory and nonregulatory non-native plant lists in the state of Florida. This publication explains the origins of the lists, meaning of inclusion on a particular list, and ways to access each of the lists.
Washington State University. College of Agricultural, Human, and Natural Resource Sciences.
A parasitoid wasp that is the natural enemy of a fly known as the spotted-wing drosophila could be a good friend to growers. Washington State University researchers recently confirmed the discovery of the potentially beneficial wasp in the United States for the first time. The drosophila flies cause major damage to several Washington crops, especially sweet cherries and berries. The wasp, which lays its eggs in the flies, could be a means of controlling their spread.
University of Wisconsin Sea Grant.
You could say that preventing the spread of aquatic invasive species (AIS) is a team sport. While it takes the professional efforts of natural resource managers, AIS specialists and others in the environmental field, it also takes the cooperation of the public. Yet for community members to take necessary actions, they must first be aware of the negative impacts AIS can have and how to stop their spread. Communicating with them about AIS in an effective way is vital.
New research from Wisconsin Sea Grant Aquatic Invasive Species Outreach Specialist Tim Campbell, University of Wisconsin-Madison Associate Professor Bret Shaw and consultant Barry T. Radler sheds new light on such communication. The researchers analyzed which communication strategies are most effective and which may pose unintended problems. The team's findings were published online Aug. 14 in the journal Environmental Management (“Testing Emphasis Message Frames and Metaphors on Social Media to Engage Boaters to Learn about Preventing the Spread of Zebra Mussels”).
University of Montana. Flathead Lake Biological Station.
Invasive species cause biodiversity loss and about $120 billion in annual damages in the U.S. alone. Despite plentiful evidence showing that invasive species can change food webs, how invaders disrupt food webs and native species through time has remained unclear. Now, thanks to a collaborative study conducted by researchers representing the University of Montana's Flathead Lake Biological Station (FLBS), U.S. Geological Survey (USGS), and Montana Fish, Wildlife & Parks, there is new insight into how invasive species progressively affect native food webs.
University of the South Pacific.
The Pacific Islands Marine Bioinvasions Alert Network (PacMAN) Project, which aims to monitor and identify marine biological invasive alien species, was officially inaugurated on November 24 in collaboration with the Institute of Applied Sciences at The University of the South Pacific (USP-IAS).
USP-IAS Acting Director, Dr Isoa Korovulavula stated it was a significant occasion as they moved collaboratively to a new "frontier" of protecting the local marine environment from invasive species. "The PacMAN Project is expected to boost local capability for early identification and warning of maritime invasive alien species. We are using revolutionary technology, such as DNA metabarcoding, to identify and deal with marine invasive alien species in our local marine environment," he explained.
Michigan State University Extension.
The Reduce Invasive Pet and Plant Escapes (RIPPLE) program offers information to aquarium and water gardener professionals, retailers and hobbyists about what to do with unwanted plants and animals so they are not introduced into Michigan's lakes and streams.
University of Western Australia.
New research from The University of Western Australia has shed light on why some invasive plants make a better comeback after a fire, outstripping native species in the race for resources.
Cornell University. Cornell Lab of Ornithology.
Love them or hate them, there's no doubt the European Starling is a wildly successful bird. A new study from the Cornell Lab of Ornithology examines this non-native species from the inside out. What exactly happened at the genetic level as the starling population exploded from just 80 birds released in New York City's Central Park in 1890, peaking at an estimated 200 million breeding adults spread all across North America? The study appears in the journal Molecular Ecology.