USDA National Wildlife Research Center Symposia


Date of this Version

August 2007


Published in: Witmer, G. W., W. C. Pitt, and K. A. Fagerstone, editors. 2007. Managing vertebrate invasive species: proceedings of an international symposium. USDA/APHIS Wildlife Services, National Wildlife Research Center, Fort Collins, Colorado, USA. Also available online at


Geographical Information Systems (GIS) are powerful tools in the field of invasive species management. GIS can be used to create potential distribution maps for all manner of taxa, including plants, animals, and diseases. GIS also performs well in the early detection and rapid assessment of invasive species. Here, we used GIS applications to investigate species richness and invasion patterns in fish in the United States (US) at the 6-digit Hydrologic Unit Code (HUC) level. We also created maps of potential spread of the cane toad (Bufo marinus) in the southeastern US at the 8-digit HUC level using regression and environmental envelope techniques. Equipped with this potential map, resource managers can target their field surveys to areas most vulnerable to invasion. Advances in GIS technology, maps, data, and many of these techniques can be found on websites such as the National Institute of Invasive Species Science ( Such websites provide a forum for data sharing and analysis that is an invaluable service to the invasive species community.