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Invasive species pose significant risks to agriculture, natural resources, infrastructure, recreation, rural livelihoods, and human health. Habitat loss and climate change are related global change challenges.
The Invasive Species Working Group (ISWG) at Virginia Tech integrates invasion science with the policy, management, and social demands associated with confronting this global crisis. We bring together biologists and resource managers, social scientists, policy experts, and other stakeholders to facilitate new partnerships across Virginia, the United States, and the World.
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The Invasive Species Working Group draws on Virginia Tech’s presence in the Washington, DC region, partnerships with Virginia Cooperative Extension, and the interdisciplinary networks of the Global Change Center and Fralin Life Sciences Institute to produce original research, connect across branches of knowledge, and train the next generation of policy-minded scientists.
ISWG has hosted several successful workshops with national and international participants, resulting in publications addressing the science and policy of invasions. This work has connected graduate students and the broader VT community with leading professionals in invasion management, advocacy, and mass media.

Featured Publications

Environmental Education Research, May 2022
David C. Haak, Scott Salom, Jacob N. Barney, Todd Schenk, Vasiliy T. Lakoba, Rachel K. Brooks, Rebecca A. Fletcher, Jeremiah R. Foley, Ariel Heminger, Lauren D. Maynard, Philip McElmurray, Hye-Jeong Seo & Gourav Sharma 
Trends in Ecology and Evolution, February 2023
Emily M X Reed, Todd Schenk, Bryan L Brown, Haldre Rogers, David C Haak, Joseph C Drake, Jacob N Barney 
Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment, June 2023
Michael G Sorice, Kiandra Rajala, Bryan L Brown, Vanessa A Masterson, Samuel D Fuhlendorf


Foundation Publications

Ecology, Ecological Society of America, April 2022
Robert P. Creed, Bryan L. Brown, James Skelton
Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, January 2021
Bryan L. Brown, Jacob N Barney 
BioScience, September 2020
Vasiliy T Lakoba, Rachel K Brooks, David C Haak, Jacob N Barney
Invasive Plant Science and Management, February 2019
Jacob N Barney, Todd Schenk, David C Haak, Scott Salom, Bryan L. Brown, Erin Hotchkiss


Emily M. X. Reed, Todd Schenk, Bryan L. Brown, Haldre Rogers, David C. Haak, Joseph C. Drake, Jacob N. Barney (2023) Holistic valuation of non-native species requires broadening the tent. Trends in Ecology & Evolution. ISSN 0169-5347 (

David C. Haak, Scott Salom, Jacob N. Barney, Todd Schenk, Vasiliy T. Lakoba, Rachel K. Brooks, Rebecca A. Fletcher, Jeremiah R. Foley, Ariel Heminger, Lauren D. Maynard, Philip McElmurray, Hye-Jeong Seo & Gourav Sharma (2022) Transformative learning in graduate global change education drives conceptual shift in invasive species co-management and collaboration.  Environmental Education Research 28:9, 1297-1315 (

Brown BL, Barney JN (2021) Rethinking biological invasions as a metacommunity problem. Frontiers in Ecology & Evolution, 8.

Vasiliy T Lakoba, Rachel K Brooks, David C Haak, Jacob N Barney (2020) An Analysis of US State Regulated Weed Lists: A Discordance between Biology and Policy. BioScience, Volume 70(9), 804-813  (

Barney JN, Schenk T, Haak DC, Salom S, Brown B, Hotchkiss ER (2019) Building partnerships and bridging science and policy to address the biological invasions crisis. Invasive Plant Science and Management 12(1): 74-78 (

Brown BL, Barney JN, Drake J, Escobar L, Haak D, Mims M, Reed EMX, Rogers H, Salom S, Schenk T, Sorice M (2023) An Introduction to the VT Invasive Species Working Group: Destination Area 2.0. VT College of Science Roundtable, April 22, 2023. 

Reed EMX, Schenk T, Haak D, Brown B, Salom S (2022) Integrating policy and biology for invasive species management. Federal Organisms in Trade - Hitchhikers Work Group (Chair: Craig Martin, USFWS). Virtual. 16 December 2022.

Reed EMX (2022) Studying policy to inform biology: an invasive species case study. Virginia Tech Entomology Seminar Series, Blacksburg VA. 02 December 2022.

Reed EMX, Agarwal P, Barney JN, Braswell C, Brown BL, Cathey S, Heminger A, Kianmehr A, Sharma G, Salom S, Schenk T, Haak DC (2022) Biological invasion laws among USA states reveal a fragmented policy landscape. North American Invasive Species Management Association Annual Conference. Kissimmee, FL. 7-10 November 2022.

Reed EMX (2022) Invited Panelist/Speaker, Breakout Session: “Biological Invasions in the Southeast US: Impacts, Management, and What’s On the Horizon”, Southeast Climate Adaptation Science Symposium, September 19–21, 2022.

Reed EMX (2022) State-Level Invasion Policy in Virginia and the Eastern United States, presentation, Blue Ridge Partnership of Invasive Species Management (PRISM), 30 August 2022, virtual.

Reed EMX (2022) Population and landscape genetics of the anthropophilic invasive mosquito Aedes albopictus. Virginia Tech, Genetics, Bioinformatics, and Computational Biology Program. Seminar Series. Blacksburg VA. 13 April 2022.

Reed EMX (2021) Effects of Urbanization Intensity on Genetic Connectivity of the Invasive Mosquito Aedes albopictus, Virginia Tech, Department of Biological Sciences. Ecology, Evolution, and Behavior Seminar Series. Postdoc Flash Talk. Blacksburg, VA.

Barney JN, Brooks R, Lakoba VT, Haak D (2021) U.S. State Noxious Weed Lists are Reactive, Not Coordinated, and Incongruous With Biology. National Invasive Species Awareness Week, sponsored by the North American Invasive Species Management Association. (~170 participants)

Barney JN, Salom S, Haak DC, Lakoba VT, Schenk T (2020) Connecting stakeholders to bridge the knowing-doing gap in biological invasions. Ecological Society of America, Symposium on Translational Invasion Ecology: Bridging Research and Practice to Address One of the Greatest Drivers of Global Change.

Salom S, Barney JN, Haak DC, Lakoba VT*, Schenk T (2019) Advocacy, science, and policy of invasive species: Results of a visit to DC by a graduate student class. 60th Annual Southern Forest Insect Work Conference. Savannah, GA