Research priorities


Prioritizing terrestrial invasive species threats in Minnesota

The Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants & Pests Center (MITPPC) is committed to fair, accurate and responsive assessment of the invasive species landscape in our state in determining where research can make a difference. A prioritized funding model helps make the greatest impact with finite resources. Learn more about our process here.

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How species ranking works

To determine which pests posed immediate threats, MITPPC undertook an expansive evaluation process. It convened 15 expert panelists, who initially identified 124 significant invasive species threatening our state. This panel also identified 17 criteria that could be used to rate species in an objective, computerized ranking system. Criteria included factors like environmental and economic impact, ability to establish and spread and proximity to the state. The top 15 most highly rated pests in each category – invertebrates, pathogens, and plants – are the species on which research can be funded through our Request for Proposal process. Rankings are updated regularly, no later than every other year or as new threats emerge on a more urgent basis. 

The paper, "A participatory method for prioritizing invasive species: Ranking threats to Minnesota's terrestrial ecosystems" outlines all prioritization methods and results.

Top-ranked invasive species in Minnesota

Plant pathogens

Scientific Name

Common Name

Aster yellows phytoplasma

Aster yellows

Ceratocystis fagacearum

Oak wilt

Cronartium ribicola

White pine blister rust

Geosmithia morbida

Thousand cankers disease

Globodera pallida; G. rostochiensis

Potato cyst nematodes

Heterobasidion irregulare

Annosum root rot

Heterodera latipons, H. filipjevi

Cereal cyst nematodes

Hymenoscyphus fraxineus

Ash dieback

Macrophomina phaseolina

Charcoal rot

Ophiostoma novo-ulmi

Dutch elm disease

Phyllachora maydis

Corn tar spot

Phytophthora ramorum

Sudden oak death

Raffaelea quercivora

Japanese oak wilt

Ralstonia solanacearum, Race 3, biovar 2

Potato brown rot
Tilletia controversa (cereal strain) Dwarf bunt of wheat


Scientific Name Common Name

Amaranthus palmeri

Palmer amaranth

Berberis x ottawensis (B. thunbergii x B. vulgaris)

Ottawa barberry

Bromus inermis; Poa pratensis

Cool season grasses (smooth brome, Kentucky bluegrass)

Centaurea stoebe subsp. micranthos; C. diffusa

Knapweeds (spotted, diffuse)

Cirsium arvense

Canada thistle

Euphorbia esula

Leafy spurge

Frangula alnus; Rhamnus cathartica

Buckthorn (glossy, common)

Gypsophila paniculata

Baby’s breath

Lonicera maackii; L. morrowii; L. tatarica; L. japonica


Lupinus polyphyllus

Large-leaved lupine

Microstegium vimineum

Japanese stiltgrass

Phragmites australis subsp. australis

European common reed

Robinia pseudoacacia

Black locust

Tanacetum vulgare

Common tansy

Typha x glauca; T. angustifolia

Non-native cattails (hybrid, narrowleaf)


Scientific Name

Common Name

Agrilus plannipennis; A. biguttatus

Flat-headed borers (emerald ash borer, oak splendor beetle)

Anoplophora glabripennis

Asian longhorned beetle

Aphis glycines

Soybean aphid

Dendroctonus ponderosae

Mountain pine beetle

Drosophila suzukii

Spotted wing drosophila

Eupoecilia ambiguella

European grape berry moth

Halyomorpha halys

Brown marmorated stink bug

Helicoverpa armigera

Old world bollworm

Lumbricus rubellus; Amynthas spp.

Non-native earthworms (leaf worm, jumping worms)

Lymantria dispar dispar; L. dispar asiatica

Lymantria dispar moths (European, Asian)

Popillia japonica

Japanese beetle

Scolytus schevyrewi; S. multistriatus

Elm bark beetles (banded, European)

Sirex noctilio

Sirex woodwasp

Spodoptera littoralis

Egyptian cottonworm

Tetropium fuscum

Brown spruce longhorned beetle

Submit a new species for evaluation

In effort to be responsive to new and emerging terrestrial invasive species, we conduct a biennial species prioritization process, which includes input from stakeholders. The results of this process inform our requests for research proposals. If you would like to submit a new species for evaluation, please fill out this survey

Comment on an existing species evaluation

Researchers at the Minnesota Invasive Terrestrial Plants and Pests Center evaluate species of concern based on 17 criteria, including proximity to Minnesota, likelihood of causing harm, presence of hosts, and others. You can see the species MITPPC has already evaluated in this spreadsheet. Click on the link on each species' scientific name to see the evaluation form (for example, hybrid barberry). 

If you wish to comment on the evaluations of these species, please fill out this form


Header image credit:

"Deco Flash" by Portraying Life, LLC is licensed under CC BY-NC-ND 2.0