Invasive Species Science


Invasive, nonnative species of plants, animals, and disease organisms adversely affect the ecosystems they enter. Like “biological wildfires,” they can quickly spread and affect nearly all terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Invasive species have become one of the greatest environmental challenges of the 21st century in economic, environmental, and human health costs, with an estimated effect in the United States of more than $120 billion per year. Managers of the Department of the Interior (DOI) and other public and private lands often rank invasive species as their top resource management problem. The Invasive Species Science (ISS) Branch of the Fort Collins Science Center (FORT) provides research and technical assistance relating to management concerns for invasive species, including understanding how these species are introduced, identifying areas vulnerable to invasion, forecasting invasions, and developing control methods. To disseminate this information, branch scientists are developing platforms to share invasive species information with DOI cooperators, other agency partners, and the public. From these and other data, branch scientists are constructing models to understand and predict invasive species distributions for more effective management. The branch also has extensive herpetological and population biology expertise that is applied to harmful reptile invaders such as the Brown Treesnake on Guam and Burmese Python in Florida. Read the Invasive Species Science Branch Fact Sheet to learn more.

Branch Chief

Bob Reed 970-226-9464


Invasive Species in the Everglades – An Opportunity to Engage Youth in Science

Invasive reptiles like the Burmese python (Python bivittatus) and Black-and-White Tegu Lizard (Tupinambis merianae) are exerting tremendous harm on Everglades ecosystems, but these problematic species present an excellent opportunity to engage the next generation in science. Since entering into an agreement with Everglades National Park in late 2013, the Invasive Species Science Branch of the U.S. Geological Survey's Fort Collins Science Center has provided internships for, and, in turn, benefitted from, 13 young people conducting research on invasive reptiles in the Everglades.

Each participant - hired as an intern through the youth corps or via an agreement with the University of Florida - has uniquely and meaningfully contributed to the team’s invasive species research. “Our...