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Future aquatic invaders of the Northeast U.S.: how climate change, human vectors, and natural history could bring southern and western species north

Project Leader:
Project Investigators:
Ian A Pfingsten
Catherine S Jarnevich
New Hampshire
New York
New Jersey
Rhode Island
West Virginia
+10 more


There are significant investments by states and resource agencies in the northeast U.S. for invasive aquatic species monitoring and management. These investments in jurisdictional waters help maintain their use for drinking, industry, and recreation. It is essential to understand the risks from invasive species, because once established, species can be costly to society and difficult or impossible to control. Identifying which species are most likely to move into a new region and cause harmful impacts can aid in preventing introductions and establishment. This is especially important in response to climate change as habitats potentially become usable to previously range-restricted species.  

Currently, hundreds of invasive aquatic species occur in the southeast and the western U.S. and can potentially move into the northeast region. This project will help guide future monitoring efforts and bring attention to high-risk areas that could be invaded by southern and western invasive aquatic species. The research team will select 100 invasive species based on input from a regional stakeholder workshop to ensure that priority management species are considered. Then, the team will model the spread of invasive species under future climate change scenarios to understand where they will spread and when they are expected to arrive. Early detection and rapid response are essential to minimize the impact of invasive species, and this research is a critical first step to ensure that these responses are informed and based on the best available science. 

Fall 2022 Workshop

In Fall 2022, a workshop was held to launch the project, provide a project overview, and develop a preliminary list of species for assessment. The workshop attracted more than 50 participants and resulted in a lengthy list of potential priority species. The workshop was recorded and is available for viewing on Youtube.