Invasive Species News and Research, March 2021

New invasive species research lends insight to fire, endangered species, economics, and more invasive species-related concerns.
screenshot of a dashboard of the Washington coastline, reporting 1,553 reports displayed

The staff and board of the North American Invasive Species Management Association review invasive species 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, Mexico and the world.

Prevention, Outreach and Education

Washington — Read on Western Governors Association

The Washington State Department of Agriculture created an Asian Giant Hornet Public Dashboard to share detection and trapping data. 

screenshot of a dashboard of the Washington coastline, reporting 1,553 reports displayed
The Washington State Department of Agriculture created an Asian Giant Hornet Public Dashboard to share detection and trapping data.

Buffelgrass is overwhelming U.S. deserts—providing fuel for wildfires

Arizona — Read on National Geographic

There are two major lines of defense against this grass: chemical sprays and manual removal. Herbicides are only effective when the plant is green during the summer, which coincides with the hottest days in the desert, so year-round manual buffelgrass pulls have become critical in keeping it out of parks.

New Research

Researchers found that approximately 12.6% of the pet trade is made up of invasive species. They also found that invasive mammalian species were 7.4 times more frequent in the global pet trade than they are in the wild.

Hawaii — Read on

The future of Philodoria depends on the conservation of its host plants, Kawahara said. Like other native Hawaiian species, such as land snails, preserving habitat and protecting against invasive species are crucial to ensuring their survival.

Frequent fire too hot to handle for invasive plants

North America — Read on

Nitrogen limitation may be responsible for reducing invasive species in a landscape that is burned frequently over time. The article, “Frequent fire reduces the magnitude of positive interactions between an invasive grass and soil microbes in temperate forests,” is published in Ecosystems.

Invasive weed Andropogon virginicus may help treat some human diseases, researchers find

Global — Read on

“Although A. virginicus has been considered a harmful invasive species without economic value, its extracts are promising sources of antioxidant, anti-diabetic, anti-tyrosinase, and antitumor agents,” paper author Tran Dang Xuan said.

Detection, Management and Control

Scientists Find New Invasive Mosquito Species In Florida

Florida – Read/Listen on NPR

In Brazil, Reeves says, they have been found to be infected with a range of diseases, “things like Venezuelan equine encephalitis virus, yellow fever virus and a handful of others.”

Wyoming convenes emergency panel after zebra mussels found

Wyoming/North America — Read on KULR 8

Zebra mussels recently turned up in globs of algae called moss balls sold in pet stores in over two dozen states including Wyoming, which has banned further imports of the products. Read the ongoing NAISMA information on invasive zebra mussels in Marimo moss balls. 

Policy and Advocacy

Delaware Governor Signs Invasive Plant Bill with Unanimous Support

Delaware — Read on Audubon

Legislation sets eyes on more bird-friendly, sustainable natural ecosystems across the state. Previously covered in the NAISMA blog.


Bald Eagle Killer Identified

Southeast — Read on The Scientist

Researchers linked the deaths of waterbirds with a newly discovered cyanobacterial species that grows on an invasive plant (Hydrilla verticillata) in humanmade reservoirs near where the birds have died. In a study published today in Science, the authors show that this cyanobacterium generates a neurotoxin that is the causative agent of the disease. 

invasion of Hydrilla in water

Conservation Hiring Down Sharply in 2020

United States — Read on CJB Network

New hiring in the field of conservation fell sharply in the spring of 2020 as Covid-19 surged across the country. New job postings dropped over 60% in April and May of 2020 compared to 2019.

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