Third Thursday Web Forum

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March 19th, 2015:  “Mechanisms of aquatic species invasions across the South Atlantic LCC” with Amy Benson, U.S. Geological Survey

This project represents the first attempt to utilize the USGS Nonindigenous Species Aquatic database (NAS) to inform an LCC conservation blueprint. The NAS contains sightings records (i.e. presence-only) dating back to 1857 for 282 nonindigenous plant and animal species for areas within the South Atlantic LCC region. A significant amount of effort was dedicated to determining the most appropriate use of these data for the purposes of identifying the mechanisms and patterns of aquatic species invasions. These investigations are regarded as a fundamental step required to undertake predictive modeling of future invasion pathways. Descriptive analyses were undertaken to characterize the spatial and temporal characteristics of the South Atlantic LCC subset of NAS data. Our work has resulted in substantial progress in overcoming some of these challenges such as the development of a novel statistical model that relies on a relatively small amount of high quality data from planned surveys to greatly enhance the usefulness of presence-only databases such as the NAS database. The model can be applied to datasets for any species, native or non-native, and it represents a potentially valuable tool for leveraging other presence-only information being gathered on South Atlantic LCC conservation indicators.

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