Invasive Species News and Research, May 2020

Border crossings, architecture, and biodiversity top invasive species conversations in May, and success stories come on the heels of National Invasive Species Awareness Week.

Every month, new species are introduced to our lands and waters, new studies are published, and new methods of control are tested—with impacts varying across the map. It would be nearly impossible to stay on top of every piece of invasive species news.

However, the staff and board of the North American Invasive Species Management Association review headlines each month. This helps us stay on top of trends and further our mission to support, promote, and empower invasive species prevention and management in North America. We then share invasive species news most relevant for people who manage terrestrial and aquatic invasive species across the the United States, Canada and occasionally the world.

So, what happened this month?


Success Stories: Prevention, Eradication and Restoration

Using Phenology to Guide Invasive Plant Management

Midway Atoll – Read on The Applied Ecologist

A case study of the effects of incorporating phenology information into invasive plant control operations at Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge (NWR), USA.

Division of Forestry Ranger Technician Angie Powell pours water collected from a stream into the treatment container she will use on multiple hemlocks throughout the conservation easement area. Photo from Kentucky Division of Forestry.

Heroes for Hemlocks: Saving a Keystone Species From An Invasive Insect

An all-women crew within the Kentucky Division of Forestry is the last line of defense for the state’s hemlocks against an invasive insect decimating populations across the U.S. 


Prevention, Outreach and Education

Can E-learning Help Stem the Threat of Invasive Alien Species such as Japanese Knotweed?

Global – Read on Science Daily

The paper is the first to evaluate the effectiveness of e-learning as a tool to increase awareness, risk perception and biosecurity behaviour in relation to invasive alien species among individuals conducting work activities or research (fieldwork) in the field.

The Great Scotch Broom Census: Help Locate, Eliminate the Invasive Plant Species

Washington – Read on Living Snoqualmie

“We need everyone’s help to size up the problem,” said Justin Bush, executive coordinator of the Washington Invasive Species Council. “Without baseline information about the location and population size, we don’t have enough details to determine solutions. The information from the census will help us set short- and long-term action plans.”


New Research

Grand Canyon. Photo by Flickr user Francoise Gaujour.

Food Webs Determine the Fate of Mercury Pollution in the Colorado River, Grand Canyon

Grand Canyon Reach – Read on Science Daily

“Invasive species and dams are common in rivers globally, and both factors were at play in the Grand Canyon reach of the Colorado River,” Rosi says. “We found that flooding changed the species present at our study sites, and mercury flow changed with those shifts.”

Scientists Find Genes to Save Ash Trees from Deadly Beetle

Global – Read on Science Daily

The findings suggest that breeding or gene editing could be used to place these resistance genes into ash species currently affected by EAB.

Even Biodiverse Coral Reefs Still Vulnerable to Climate Change and Invasive Species

Global – Read on Science Daily

The scientists also studied coral reefs experiencing a reduction in nutrients caused by invasive rats on nearby islands.

Shyness Helps Parrotfish Survive Invasive Predators

Bahamas – Read on Scientific American

Prey fish still do not recognize lionfish as a threat. But selection pressure from the invaders is making them shy.

Virginia – Read on Smithsonian’s National Zoo

Their findings attribute about 25% of tree deaths to non-native insects and pathogens, with at least 22 tree species affected.


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Detection, Management and Control

Carduus nutans, musk thistle, is designated a State Noxious Weed by the State of Nebraska. Also called nodding thistle. Photo from Nebraska Invasive Species Program.

Management and Treatment Options for Musk Thistle

Nebraska – Read on The Fence Post

Musk thistle is a prolific seed producer designated as a state noxious weed. There are three insects that are considered biological control methods at this time.

Here We Go Again: Another Invasive Pest in Florida Citrus

The mealybug species Nipaecoccus viridis, originally from Asia and first found in Florida back in 2009, is a new invasive pest of Florida citrus.


Policy and Rulemaking

Michigan Adds Invasive Marbled Crayfish to Prohibited Species List

Michigan – Read on Click On Detroit

Marbled crayfish, also known as marmorkrebs and virgin crayfish, are increasing in popularity in the aquarium trade due to their unique ability to reproduce by cloning.


Read NAISMA’s position papers here.
And if you’re a member, join us for First Friday virtual networking. June’s topic is: how have you used NAISMA’s position papers & what topics would you like covered in future papers?



A single lamprey can kill up to 20 kilograms of fish in just two years. Photo by Shutterstock.

Is Forgetting about the Sea Lamprey a Good Thing?

Great Lakes – Read on

The Sea Lamprey Control Program is one of the most successful invasive species management programs in the world.

Massachusetts – Read on Science Daily

For many years, the conservation community has embraced the idea that improving connectivity, that is, creating corridors so species can follow their preferred climate, will benefit biodiversity, says a researcher.

COVID-19 is Crushing Conservation Groups

Nebraska and U.S. – Read on Mother Jones

Researchers behind habitat restoration and wildlife protection groups are struggling to continue work amid the pandemic.

Albizia wave ceiling, Elemental Excelerator headquarters designed by Dean Sakamoto Architects with Joey Valenti. Photo courtesy Joey Valenti for Architecture magazine.

Invasive Species Becomes a Hot Commodity for Low-Carbon Supply Chains

United States – Read on Architect

The history of the 2×4—and of most building materials—is a reminder that market dominance results from myriad factors. A cost-competitive, reliable supply chain of building materials from invasive or unwanted woods will require the close coordination of product suppliers, forest owners, industry associations, regulatory agencies, contractors, and design professionals.


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