Both detection and monitoring are elements of a successful rapid response protocol for aquatic invasive species (AIS). Coordinated detection and monitoring efforts help identify where and when AIS populations become established and how those populations change over time. Both require accurate species identification and information gathering.
The Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management (CZM) has been a leader in coordinating and developing resources for marine invasive species detection and monitoring. Efforts include training citizen groups to monitor for AIS along the coast. AIS detection and monitoring efforts developed by CZM and AIS Working Group partners include:
- Species Identification - Download ID cards for existing and potential invaders!
- Reporting - When there is something strange ... who needs to know?
- Monitoring Partners - Learn about the network of community groups and citizens watching our coast!
- Monitoring Protocol - The how-to guide for citizens monitoring for marine AIS.
- Data and Information Sharing - View monitoring data and the website that tracks and provides information on AIS.
In addition to the information gathered with CZM's assistance, several of AIS Working Group partners conduct regular surveys of plant and animal life in Massachusetts waters. Together, this information constructs a baseline knowledge of biodiversity in the Commonwealth. Additionally, information sharing with academic researchers, commercial fishermen, recreational fishermen, and community groups is essential. The wide variety of detection and monitoring efforts by citizens, government agencies, and academics across the state and region contributes to successful AIS management.