The Invasive Species Collaborative will develop research-based teams throughout the university and create transdisciplinary partnerships with government and tribal agencies, non-governmental organizations, industry, and local communities to promote a deep understanding of invasive species’ impacts on society. In doing so, we will foster a holistic environment where science, policy, and the humanities meet to tackle this global challenge.

Virginia Tech student conducting stream survey

What We Do

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 Collaborative 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.

Mitigating invasive species through transdisciplinary science

We draw 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.

The Invasive Species Collaborative was recently awarded a Destination Area 2.0 Phase II grant, funded by the Office of the Executive Vice President and Provost. This funding will enable the Invasive Species Collaborative to further their mission to combat invasive species, a global threat that jeopardizes health, economic stability, and environmental security.

What are invasive species?

Purple Loosestrife

Purple loosestrife (Lythrum  salicaria  L.) can rapidly establish and replace native vegetation, thereby reducing plant diversity and negatively impacting wildlife habitat.

An invasive species is an introduced, nonnative organism (disease, parasite, plant, or animal) that begins to spread or expand its range from the site of its original introduction and that has the potential to cause harm to the environment, the economy, or to human health. Harmful, non-native species can be found in all ecosystems across the United States and throughout the world. These species can cause costly economic and ecological damage each year including crop decimation, clogging of water facilities and waterways, wildlife and human disease transmission, threats to fisheries, increased fire vulnerability, and adverse effects for ranchers and farmers (U.S. Geological Survey).
How much do invasive species cost?


Estimated global costs / year = $423 billion (IPBES Invasive Alien Species Assessment Report, 2023)

Estimated costs to the U.S. economy / year = $21 billion (Economic costs of biological invasions in the United States, 2022)

Estimated costs to the Virginia economy / year = $1 billion (Virginia Invasive Species, 2021)

How do we attempt to stop or slow invasive species?

The most economical and safest way to manage invasive species is by prevention.

Other methods for stopping, slowing or controlling the spread of invasive species include:

  • Legislation aimed at preventing the introduction of new invasive species
  • State and federal funding for invasive species monitoring and control efforts
  • Quarantine
  • Physical control
  • Chemical control
  • Biological control
  • Public education campaigns
Invasive Species Collaborative

Meet The Team

Learn more about the people that are confronting the invasive species crisis with transdisciplinary science.
Invasive Species Working Group team photo

We're Hiring!

Join the Invasive Species Collaborative and tackle the global challenge of understanding invasive species.