Issue 6: Fall 2023

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Message From the Director

I am delighted to share that the Invasive Species Working Group was selected as one of the two teams for the Destination Area 2.0 Phase 2 award! This is a major accomplishment as the university has committed significant resources to support invasive species science, management, policy, outreach, and teaching. The Steering Committee has been hard at work on a number of fronts. We will be investing our funds to support a large range of projects, events, and opportunities that will be forthcoming and we hope you will all participate! In fact we are forming several sub-committees and will be looking for volunteers from the community to assist.

Given how much new work will be ongoing we made it a priority to advertise and hire a Program Coordinator. I am excited to announce that Hallie Harriman will be joining us in late October. I will let her introduce herself in a future newsletter, but she brings tremendous experience to the group and I am sure will elevate our game!

Our next order of business following DA funding has been to develop a hiring plan. The DA award came with four funded new positions, which we have negotiated to be five positions! We have been working with colleges across campus to identify the best fits and are excited about bringing five new colleagues to campus. We are still working out some details, so are not quite ready to announce the positions but can say they include a range of social, political, technological, data, and biophysical sciences - we are striving to bring a dynamic range of expertise to campus to complement our existing strengths. We are working on organizing these as a cluster hire and will share all of the details once they are finalized. We are hopeful you will participate as members of the search committees.

Be on the lookout for messages in the not too distant future about research grants, seminars, outreach events, and an Invasive Species Research (Half)Day. We are truly looking forward to engaging much more with the broader community!

Jacob Barney, ISWG Director

Invasive Species Graduate Student Grants

The ISWG would like to announce a Request for Graduate Student Research and Outreach Proposals related to Invasive Species. 

These grants are for projects with direct relevance to invasive species in one or more of the following areas: policy, prevention, ecology, technology development, management, human dimensions, or arts, are encouraged to apply. 

Projects may be submitted by an individual student as a collaborative student group. Individual grants are for students who are doing their graduate work with invasive species. Maximum grant amounts for individual submissions will be $2,000.

Collaborative projects are also encouraged, where multiple students propose an activity that may be outside the realm of their specific graduate project. Max grant amts for collaborative projects are $4,000.

Submissions are due Oct 31, 2023. Proposal Reviews will be completed by Mid-November. Funds must be spent by June 1, 2024.

The ISWG goal is to support as many high quality proposals as we can.

Details of Proposal | Application Form

Interested in serving as a proposal reviewer? See the call for graduate student grant subcommittee members below! 

ISWG Updates

Recruiting Members for ISWG Subcommittees

Are you a VT-affiliated faculty, graduate student, or staff member interested in becoming more involved with the ISWG? Consider volunteering for one of our subcommittees! We are seeking members for the following groups.

Doctoral Student Research Grant Subcommittee: We will be considering applications in 2023-2024 to support graduate student research, outreach, and professional development opportunities. We are looking for ISWG related faculty, staff, and students to serve on this committee to help review applications. Applications are tentatively set to be due on October 27, 2023 and reviews and recommendations will be made by the Committee by mid-November. If you are interested in serving on this Committee, please contact Scott Salom ([email protected])

Invasive Species Seminars Subcommittee: We are interested in hosting several high-profile seminars each year and partner with existing seminar series across the University to bring researchers working on questions relevant to invasive species science, policy, management, and human elements. This subcommittee will create and implement a vision for ISWG seminars on campus.  If you are interested in serving on this Committee, please contact David Haak ([email protected])

Grant Award for Invasive Species Policy Database

The Invasive Species Working Group recently received funding from the US Geological Survey to develop an Invasive Species Policy Database that will integrate with the interagency National Early Detection and Rapid Response (EDRR) Information System, which will serve as an online resource hub for invasive species information sharing and collaboration. We are excited to work with the USGS team to integrate policy data into their system! Learn more about the National EDRR Program


Hokie BugFest 2023

October 7th, 10AM- 3PM

Squires Student Center, Blacksburg VA

The ISWG will be at BugFest this year! We have table located next to the Forest Entomology group; stop by and say hi!

Hokie BugFest is a free, one-day festival that celebrates the exciting science of entomology with science, technology, engineering, art, and math activities for all ages.

Highlights include more than 30 exhibits from Virginia Tech labs, local museums, and community groups as well as live arthropods, hands-on science activities, and the Dan Capps Insect Collection. Learn more about BugFest here.

Conferences & Workshops

October 2023

Fall Invasive Plant Workshops

Blue Ridge Partnership for Regional Invasive Species Management.

Invasive Plant In Person Workshop

October 20th, 10:00 AM - 1:00 PM

McIntire Park, Charlottesville ($25)

Identification of Invasive Plants

October 24, 1:00 - 3:00 PM (Online; $10)

Management & Control of Invasive Plants

October 26, 1:00 - 3:00 PM (Online; $10)

27 October 2023, 1:00 - 3:00 PM

Aquatic Invasive Species in Commerce:

State Agency Focus Group

US Department of the Interior

More Information | Meeting Link

12-15 February 2024

2024 Invasive Species Forum

Invasive Species Centre

Free Virtual Event!


October 4, 2:00 PM EDT

Invasive Species as a Medium for Conservation Artwork

Presented by NAISMA

Register Here

October 11, 11:00 AM EDT

Mississauga’s Invasive Species Management Plan and Implementation Strategy: Managing Invasive Species in an Urban Environment

Presented by the Invasive Species Centre

Register Here

October 11, 11:00 AM EDT

Coffee Talk: Future Freshwater Invaders of the Northeast

Presented by the Northeast Regional Invasive Species and Climate Change (RISCC) Network

Register Here

November 1, 11:30 AM EDT

Virginia's Hardwood Forests: Lore, Lies, Luck & Looking Forward

Blue Ridge PRISM Fall Meeting

Register Here


IPBES Invasive Alien Species Assessment: Summary for Policymakers

Roy et al. 2023

Federal agency perspectives and funding opportunities for weed and invasive plant research

Young et al. 2023, Weed Science.

Pacific Island Perspectives on Invasive

Species and Climate Change

Brewington et al. 2023, in: Island Ecosystems: Social and Ecological Interactions in the Galapagos Islands

Non-native mammals are weak candidates to substitute ecological function of native avian seed dispersers in an island ecosystem

Gawal et al. 2023, bioTropica,

co-authored by ISWG member Haldre Rogers.

The scientist eyes: monitoring YouTube™ to quantify aquatic pet release in Brazil

Magalhães et al. 2023, Aquatic Ecology

In the Media

From Virginia Tech News

Have you heard about the toxic (and invasive!) hammerhead worms appearing in Virginia backyards? Learn how to control them with advice from Theresa Dellinger with the VT Insect Identification Lab

The now infamous spotted lanternfly is spreading in Virginia. Read tips to help control this from VT Experts.

Sick of reading about spotted lanternfly ? Learn to help prevent the spread in this fun Video! (Also check out the VPM article about the video, by Patrick Larsen)

ISWG Steering Committee Member Dr. Luis Escobar received an NIH award to study rabies transmission from wildlife to humans. Congrats, Luis! By Krista Timney for VT News

And, in case you missed it in our Director's Message above, the ISWG was one of two teams to receive a Destination Area 2.0 Phase II Award!

Thanks to the entire ISWG community for your input and support!


Invasive plants have spread all over Virginia. Some groups say that needs to stop. Meghan McIntyre & Charlie Paullin for Virginia Mercury

Fire ants head west in Virginia; 2nd invasive species spotted. Eliza Noe for the Virginian-Pilot

Outdoors Bound: Virginia Dogs go after foreign invaders. George Noleff for WFXR

‘We can’t save all of them’. Scientists work to protect Virginia’s last remaining ash trees. Roxy Todd for Radio IQ


How Swaths of Invasive Grass Made Maui’s Fires So Devastating. Shi En Kim for Smithsonian Magazine

An Invasive Hornet Species Is Spotted in the U.S. for the First Time. Rebecca Carballo for the New York Times

Florida’s War With Invasive Pythons Has a New Twist. Max G. Levy for WIRED

How the peach blossom jellyfish is spreading across North America. Florian Lüskow for The Conversation


Invasive Species Are Costing the Global Economy Billions, Study Finds. Manuela Andreoni for the New York Times

GBIF ramps up support of information needed to tackle invasive alien species. Global Biodiversity Information Facility

Rethinking the War on Invasive Species. Bryan Walsh for Vox

The World’s Rarest Raptor Hangs On Thanks to an Invasive Species. Ryan Truscott for Atlas Obscura

Photo ID (from top to bottom): Feral hog (Sus scrofa); Jacob Barney at the February VT Invasive Species Summit; Chinese mantis (Tenodera sinensis); shovel-headed garden worm (Bipalium kewense; photo by  Pierre Gros, wikimedia commons)

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The Invasive Species Working Group is a faculty collaborative within the Global Change Center at Virginia Tech supported by the Fralin Life Sciences Institute and the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost

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