Cooperative Fish and Wildlife Research Units Program: Pennsylvania
Education, Research and Technical Assistance for Managing Our Natural Resources

Pennsylvania Project

Forecasting Aquatic Invasions in Rivers: Using Riverscapes Genetics to Inform Invasive Fish Species Management at Regional Scales

September 2020 - August 2025


Participating Agencies

  • CRU Headquarters

Invasive species have significant, negative effects on ecosystem structure and function, and predicting and limiting the spread of invasive organisms a priority for environmental managers. Invasive species management is particularly challenging in aquatic habitats, where higher invasion velocities and stronger interactions with native biota result in more significant disruptions to ecosystem structure and function. In particular, through competition, predation, and disruption to nutrient and energy flows, invasive species often lead to a reduction and/or loss of native populations and can decrease ecosystem resiliency to disturbance. In collaboration with state fisheries management agencies and Penn State University, we will apply a novel quantitative framework for riverscape genetics to better understand and predict the invasion potential of invasive flathead catfish in the Susquehanna River Basin. This research will identify management scenarios that can be used to limit future invasion and we will develop a web viewer to communicate the efficacy of different management scenarios to stakeholders and managers.

Presentations Presentation Date
Waraniak, J., M.S. Eackles, J. Keagy, G.D. Smith, M. Schall, S. Stark, S.L. White, D.C. Kazyak, and T. Wagner. 2024. Population genetic structure and demographic history reconstruction of introduced flathead catfish (Pylodictis olivaris) in two US mid-Atlantic rivers. Society for Freshwater Science. Philadelphia, PA. June 2024