Invasive Species Working Group

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 Working Group 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.

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.

We have hosted workshops with national and international participants, resulting in publications addressing the science and policy of invasions. Our work has also connected graduate students and the broader VT community with leading professionals in invasion management, advocacy, and mass media.

ISWG Postdoctoral Associate – Dr. Emily Reed

Dr. Emily Reed conducts interdisciplinary, collaborative research on invasive species at science-policy interface as the ISWG’s Postdoctoral Researcher.  She also develops capacity of the ISWG by building stakeholder networks, leading research and outreach projects, and strengthening existing skills and connections.  Additional contributions by Dr. Reed include facilitating meetings and seminars related to invasion science. 

Emily is broadly interested in the effects of global land-use and climate change on the ecology and evolution of invasive species and how to leverage that knowledge to make informed, adaptive management decisions at different spatial and geopolitical scales. Emily received her PhD in Ecology and Evolutionary Biology from North Carolina State University in 2021. Her dissertation research focused on the population andlandscape genetics of an anthropophilic invasive mosquito, Aedes albopictus. She has a strong

interest in science communication and enjoys exploring ways to use unconventional media to engage audiences. Emily is excited to work across fields and departments on interdisciplinary research related to invasive species, and invites anyone curious or interested in the ISWG to get in touch!

Emily’s CV 

ISWG Work to Date


2018 – Biological Invasions: Confronting a Crisis 
2019 – Devising Seminar on the Science and Policy of Biological Invasions
2020 – Identifying  Gaps in the Science and Policy of Biological Invasions



Barney JN, Schenk T, Haak DC, Salom S, Brown B, Hotchkiss ER (2019) Building partnerships and bridging science and policy to address the biological invasions crisis. Invasive Plant Science and Management 12: 74-78 (


For more information and to get involved, contact Jacob Barney or David Haak.