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Webinar: U.S. Horizon Scan for Organisms in Trade

November 17, 2021 @ 1:00 pm 2:00 pm GMT-5

USGS and USFWS collaborative project to conduct a national horizon scan for organisms in trade

Presented by: Dr. Wesley Daniel, USGS

shipping crates in a trade warehouse

Invasive species are one of the greatest threats to the United States (U.S.) biodiversity and have cost the U.S. over $120 billion in damages each year (Pimental et al. 2005). The impacts of invasive species range in size and scope from small-scale and localized up to broad shifts in ecosystem function and can influence economically essential species and those of conservation concern alike. The consequences of an invasion include not only degradation of the natural ecosystem but also economic repercussions and effects on human and wildlife health in the invaded areas.

The focus of this project is to conduct a global horizon scan to help identify alien vertebrate species within the Organisms in Trade Pathway at greatest risk of entering the country, establishing populations, and becoming invasive in the U.S. Our work will address arrival, establishment, and impact via consideration of propagule pressure, climatic similarity to occupied range, and prior invasion history of the focal species and its relatives, respectively.
The approach we are proposing will review a large number (ten of thousands) of Organisms in Trade (OIT) to identify species that that have a high risk of invasiveness in the U.S. By starting with a larger pool of species (opposed to the Roy et al. screening process started with 329 species) there is a great opportunity to recognize new species with no known invasion history. Through a process of filtering the project team will reduce the OIT to a manageable number of higher risk species (~500) based a species potential to arrive, establish, spread, and cause harm (impacts). The project team will also evaluate species with unknown natural histories based on phylogenetic and expert knowledge. We will use a largely automated initial screening, to be followed by expert elicitation and further species prioritization. The development of watch lists can guide early detection efforts, can help inform resource managers, and can provide a repeatable tool for early detection and rapid response efforts (EDRR). In addition, watch list(s) can be used to prioritize evaluations under the injurious Wildlife Provisions of the Lacey Act.”

Dr. Wesley Daniel

Wes Daniels portrait shot

Dr. Wesley Daniel is a fisheries biologist with the USGS Wetland and Aquatic Research Center’s Nonindigenous Aquatic Species (NAS) Database. He is the coordinator for the NAS Database and curates all the invertebrates and mollusks records. Wes earned his Ph.D. from LSU in Biology, where his research focused on landscape conservation of Gulf Coast Unionidae mussels. After which, he was a post-doctoral researcher with Michigan State University in the Wildlife and Fisheries Program, working with the National Fish Habitat Association to create a nationwide assessment of fish habitat. His current research focuses on developing tools for managers and stakeholders that evaluate the potential spread of non-native and invasive species within and across drainage basins.

Continuing Education Credits

1 Continuing Education Unit from:

  • Certified Crop Advisers
  • International Society of Arboriculture
  • Society of American Foresters
  • Society of Ecological Restoration


Elizabeth Brown, Director of Government Relations and Professional Development

Welcome Back.

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