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Ohio State University Extension has released a new app for spotting and tracking invasive species -- non-native organisms such as Asian carps, purple loosestrife and Asian longhorned beetle -- to try to keep them from setting up beachheads and hurting the economy and environment.
The app allows users to take pictures of suspected invasive species -- whether of farm, woods or water -- and upload the pictures and locations for verification.
Based on this early warning, scientists can send out alerts, map the spread and figure out a battle plan.
"Early detection gives us a greater chance of being able to handle infestations before they become so large that eradicating them isn't possible or feasible," said Kathy Smith, forestry program director for Ohio State University Extension and a co-developer of the app.
Data submitted by the app's users goes into the web-based Early Detection and Distribution Mapping System, which tracks the location and spread of invasive species throughout the U.S. and Canada.
The app divides sightings into the general categories of plants (including trees, vines, shrubs, herbs, grasses and forbs such as wildflowers), fish, insects, mammals, mollusks, crustaceans and plant diseases.
The network covers the states of Ohio, New York, Illinois, Indiana, Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota and Pennsylvania.