biologist Joshua Brown standing in deep forest river holding a GPS navigator surveying for little fire ants on Guam at the Naval Base
Joshua Brown conducts surveys for little fire ants on the Naval Base Guam Ordnance Annex

What do the coconut rhinoceros beetle (Oryctes rhinoceros), siam weed (Chromolaena odorata), and little fire ant (Wasmannia auropunctata) have in common? All now inhabit the Mariana Islands, on which the Naval Facilities Engineering Command operates training areas, but are non-native invasive species. A team from the Center for Environmental Management of Military Lands (CEMML) at Colorado State University is surveying Guam and islands in the Commonwealth of the Northern Mariana Islands with the aim of identifying all non-native invasive plants and invertebrates within training areas.

Motivated by biosecurity requirements in a 2015 U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biological opinion, NAVFAC Marianas and Colorado State University entered into a cooperative agreement to develop the capacity to respond rapidly when invasive species are detected, and to control or remove those species.

CEMML’s Tom Mathies and his fellow biologists Joshua Brown, Brian Leo, and Kyle Ngiratregd are nearing the end of their first year of work in the Mariana Islands. Read more about this project in the Fall 2017 issue of Currents, the Navy’s energy and environmental magazine.


siam weed in flower, white flowers
Non-native Siam weed can outcompete native plants