Invasive Species

Forest & Land


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A white Styrofoam cup filled with live earthworms.

Program Contact: Ryan Hueffmeier, rhueffme@d.umn.edu, (218) 788-2710

The Invasive Species program focuses on identification, early detection, colonization pathways, and control of non-native plant and animal species that disrupt the ecology of our northern ecosystems. Among the culprits are European buckthorn, garlic mustard, Japanese knotweed, and Phragmites, the common reed. We study the spread and distribution of these species through a combination of field activities, remote sensing and predictive modeling.

A flagship project in the Invasive Species program is the Great Lakes Worm Watch which documents the distribution and diversity of invasive earthworms throughout the region. This program includes:

  • Citizen Science participation to assist in recording earthworm distribution across the landscape.
  • Education for both land managers and the general public on vectors of spread and best management practices.
  • Development of a cost effective and efficient rapid assessment for land managers to assess the status of earthworms on their lands in the region.

Our partners include: K-12 schools, universities, nature centers, private partnerships, and resource managers.

Current Projects

  • Great Lakes Worm Watch (R. Hueffmeyer)
  • Baseline data and geospatial modeling of invasive species in St. Louis County (G. Host/C. Reschke)