The National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (U.S.) have debuted a new acquatic invasive species database which aims to help members of the public, researchers, and government bodies keep track of non-indigenous critters introduced to the Great Lakes.
The database is dubbed GLANSIS, the Great Lakes Aquatic Non-Indigenous Species Information System. It is divided into main categories:
- non-indigenous species: those not natural to the Great Lakes basin
- range expansion species: those native to some of the Great Lakes but not others
- watchlist species: those not currently found in the Great Lakes but assessed as likely to invade
GLANSIS is connected to the larger USGS NAS database, and will they’ll be updated simultaneously. However, the GLANSIS database was intended as a Great Lakes-specific tool with targeted information for researchers and citizens only seeking Great Lakes-specific info. If there are any species missing from, or deliberately not included in GLANSIS, the NOAA suggests consulting the NAS database.
The species are included in the database subject to a number of criterion, including
- geographic criterion – only species established below the Great Lakes high watermark included
- aquatic criterion – only aquatic species included (therefore not waterfowl, reptiles, and mammals who are not solely dependent on the water)
- non-indigenous criterion – sudden appearance, subsequent spread, restricted distribution, distribution in association with human involvement, etc
- range expansion criterion – cryptogenic species are not included
- established criterion – species which are evidenced to have established life cycles over a period of two consecutive years
Currently, there are 187 non-indigenous species fact sheets available for viewing in GLANSIS, as well as 10 fact sheets for range expansion species. GLANSIS received funding from the Great Lakes Restoration Initiative (GLRI) to make improvements and further developments to the database.
In addition to the data collection and presentation, the NOAA provides a link for citizens and researchers to report invasive species found at new locations, tips for invasive species prevention, a glossary for new-comers, and a kid-friendly page.