Illinois Natural History Survey - University of Illinois

Invasive & Exotic Species

Charles G. Helm and Robert N. Wiedenmann


The term "exotic species" may conjure images of rare, highly desirable plants and animals growing in beautiful settings. However, this idyllic image is seldom accurate. All too often, "invasive" is equally descriptive. Exotic and invasive species represent major ecological and economic threats to Illinois, the U.S., and the world. 

INHS scientists represent a unique resource for providing basic biological research, pest management strategies, and outreach to help the state address the growing threats posed by exotic invaders. The projects represented in the Survey's invasive species portfolio are diverse. Scientists are studying the processes of invasion and what kinds of habitats may be prone to invasion, what conditions may predispose different kinds of habitats to invasion, the impacts of invaders on Illinois habitats, and tactics to manage the invaders.

Survey projects include research into invasions of the Great Lakes by aquatic exotics species, such as the zebra mussel, round goby, and spiny water flea; terrestrial invaders, including weedy plants, such as garlic mustard, autumn olive, and purple loosestrife; and terrestrial animals, such as rusty crayfish, Asian longhorned beetle, and gypsy moth. For some of the invaders, the arrival is recent enough that the projects mark the occurrence or spread of the invaders, or background information is being gathered in order to plan a management strategy. For other species, such as purple loosestrife, gypsy moth, and Asian longhorned beetle, Survey projects include the tactical efforts to manage these exotic pests in Illinois.

Invasive, exotic species are not a new phenomenon; however, the pace of invasions continues to increase. Unfortunately, Illinois continues to receive many of these unwelcome invaders because of its location on Lake Michigan and the rivers that carry major commercial shipping. The Survey is the appropriate scientific unit to investigate the economic and ecological costs to the state from exotic species, and those studies will continue to be a significant part of the Survey's scientific efforts.



INHS Invasive Species Projects


Model of Lake Michigan-Illinois River zebra mussel metapopulation: evaluating possible control strategies
D. Schneider, R. Sparks, K. Blodgett, J. Stoeckel


The role of larval growth, mortality, and transport in metapopulation dynamics and control of the zebra mussel in freshwater and estuarine systems
D. Schneider, C. Rehmann, J. Stoeckel, R. Sparks, D. Padilla


Predicting transport of zebra mussels in rivers and estuaries
C. Rehmann, D. Schneider, D. Padilla


Carp, culture, and a century of exotic species introductions: an environmental history
D. Schneider, G. Sandiford


Population and energetic consequences of zebra mussel fouling on native gastropod fauna of Lake Michigan
D. Schneider, J. Marsden, D. Padilla


Degradation and restoration of Lake Michigan: past and future of nonindigenous species
D. Schneider, D. Lodge, R. Sparks, J. Marsden


 Model HACCPlike plan to restrict the spread of aquatic nuisance species via baitfish and fish for stocking
P. Charlebois


Trophic transfer of PCBs: zebra mussels and round gobies
P. Charlebois


Research and outreach to prevent and control aquatic nuisance species invasions: a national invasive aquatic plant outreach initiative 
P. Charlebois


Biological control of purple loosestrife by 4-H field volunteers
P. Charlebois, R. Wiedenmann, D. Voegtlin


 Sustaining wild harvest and aquaculture of bait fish in ANS-infested waters and reducing the risk of ANS spread
P. Charlebois


Zebra mussel workshops for inland waters users: prevention and protection through education
P. Charlebois



Abundance and size distribution of zebra mussel veligers in the Mississippi River
J. Stoeckel, T. Koel


Effects of common carp on aquatic communities
D. Wahl, V. Santucci, J. Parkos, M. Wolfe


 Control of the Asian longhorned beetle
L. Solter, J. Cate, M. Hatab (Integrated BioControl Systems, Inc.), L. Hanks (UIUC), M. McManus, M. Keena (USFS, CT)


Control of the gypsy moth in Illinois
L. Solter, K. Higgs


Biological control of purple loosestrife
R. Wiedenmann, D. Voegtlin, S. Post, A. Wegeng


Biological control of alfalfa blotch leafminer
R. Wiedenmann, M. Martinez (INRA-France)


Exotic species educational materials 
M. Jeffords, C. Helm, M. Garland, S. Post, C. Nixon


Purple loosestrife education project 
M. Jeffords, D. Voegtlin, R. Wiedenmann, S. Post, C. Nixon

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