Arctic Invaders

EarthzineDevelop Summer 2017, DEVELOP Virtual Poster Session

This article is a part of the NASA DEVELOP’s Summer 2017 Virtual Poster Session. For more articles like these, click here

Project Team: Alaska Climate

Team Location: USGS at Colorado State University – Fort Collins, Colorado

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Authors: Emma Hatcher, Sarah Carroll, Timothy Mayer, Audrey Martinez

Mentors/Advisors: Dr. Paul Evangelista (Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University), Dr. Amanda West (Natural Resource Ecology Laboratory, Colorado State University)

Past or Other Contributors: Brian Woodward

MODIS-derived annual land surface temperature averaged for 1981-2010 and sea surface temperature averaged for 2017 and overlain with a hillshade derived from Shuttle Radar Topography Mission (SRTM) version 3. Image Credit: Alaska Climate Team


The rapid expansion of purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria) and reed canarygrass (Phalaris arundinacea L.) into aquatic and wetland systems has reduced native plant abundance, decreased species diversity, and degraded wildlife habitats for birds and amphibians throughout North America. The expansion of these invasive species into northern latitudes as a result of changing climate trends poses mitigation challenges to natural resource managers. In the United States, this trend is particularly concerning in Alaska, where wetlands are of major economic and ecological importance. This project developed habitat suitability models utilizing spectral data from Terra and Aqua MODIS in conjunction with topographic and climatic variables to map historic and current suitable habitat for purple loosestrife and reed canarygrass across Canada and the United States. The resulting habitat suitability maps will support decision-making and the planning of management actions by partners at the Alaska Region U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service in the Early Detection, Rapid Response program for invasive species management.

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