invasives title
Workshops & Symposia
Research Exchange
Biodiversity Informatics
Project Summary

Intellectual Merit:

The study of biological invasions has become a central focus in ecology, evolutionary biology, and conservation biology. However, the development of the field into a predictive science is hampered by incomplete information on broad-scale spatial and temporal patterns of most invasions, and for some taxonomic groups, species identity. Here, we propose to facilitate a research network that will explore the synthesis of geographical and historical information on biological invasions using museums and specimen databases, with the associated historical information and genetic data. Computational methods will be developed that will access appropriate fields in the database in order to address questions regarding the properties of an invasion and its potential future. We have chosen terrestrial arthropods as a focal group because of their impact in a variety of habitats, including natural, urban, and agricultural settings.

Broader Impacts:

Networking activities will include a series of workshops focused on particular invasive insect groups (e.g., ants, fruit flies, coccinellid beetles, etc.), coupled with the production of a web accessible DiGIR (Distributed Generic Information Retrieval) portals tied to museum collections as well as on-line and CD version of LUCID keys for each group. Students, postdocs and researchers will have the opportunity through exchanges to learn methods and approaches to the use of spatial and temporal information in the study of invasions, both in museum/collection settings, but also with researchers from diverse institutions emphasizing such areas as the genetics of colonization, modeling and statistics of origins and spread, and database development. An annual workshop/symposium will be held in key locations that have distinct/acute invasive problems, and impromptu focus groups will meet as needed to address particular urgent and emerging issues. In addition to training at a range of levels both nationally and internationally, impacts of the proposed research will be (1) orientation of collections towards the study of invasive species, and (2) development of a world-wide network of researchers and museum scientists studying insect invasions using a variety of approaches.

For more information contact George Roderick