Mission: Garlic mustard

Research Question

What is it about garlic mustard that makes it such a successful invader?

You're invited

Les Mehrhoff

Join this global effort!

According to the Global Invasions Network the scientific community has many hypotheses about why some species are invasive to a new ecosystem while others are not. The scientific community does not know enough about the ecology of invasive species to support their claims.

In order to better understand the biology and ecology of invasive species, the Global Invasions Network is conducting the Global Garlic Mustard Survey. With your help the scientific community will be able to better understand why garlic mustard is invasive, and help generate better methods for management.

Mission steps

Les Mehrhoff

1. Print your identification resources.

2. Review the Global Garlic Mustard Survey protocol.

3. Print your Species Survey: Upland Habitats.

4. Go out and look for populations of garlic mustard.

  • Before you go, check the Vital Signs database to see where it's been found or not found already.
  • Look for garlic mustard on the EDDMaps website.

5. Go to your My Vital Signs page (link at top right) to add your "found" or "not found" observations.

6. If you find garlic mustard, keep an eye on it. The Global Garlic Mustard Survey asks that you return to each population to collect the ripe fruit.

  • The best sampling time is after ~95% of plants are done flowering, but before the seed pods have popped open. For us here in Maine this should be mid to late June, depending on the weather.
  • Recruit help from community: teachers, students, local summer camps, local Master Gardeners.
  • Bring a GPS unit, 2 meter sticks, a tape measure, 20 large paper envelopes and a digital camera.
  • Follow the Global Garlic Mustard Survey protocol.
  • Submit your findings to the Global Garlic Mustard Survey and contribute to this important work!

Why this Mission matters

Many invasive species, like garlic mustard, are threatening the world's natural resources, but the abundance of invasive species can vary dramatically over space and time. Scientists still do not have a good understanding of why this is so.
The Global Garlic Mustard Survey

Invasive species affect native species and natural ecosystem processes, impact our economy, and influence our relationship with and reliance on our environment in Maine and across the globe. By increasing our understanding of the ecology of invasive species, scientists can develop new management tools.

Scientists will use the data you collect to compare garlic mustard in its native and non-native ranges. Without help from citizen scientists like you this large scale project would not be possible.

Help contribute to our understanding of garlic mustard and other invasive species!

Want to know and do more?

Global Garlic Mustard Survey
Visit the Global Garlic Mustard Survey website to learn more!


We just got this email. Super cool!:

As a participant in the Global Garlic Mustard Field Survey (GGMFS), I would like to thank you once again for your important contribution and to update you on the progress of this study.

As one of 164 contributors from 16 countries, you have helped to sample 383 populations across Europe and North America, counting 13,811 plants and taking 45,688 individual measurements. Additionally, we have collected seeds from over 5,000 plants, which we are using to create inbred lines for future research including the sequencing of a draft genome in collaboration with Loren Rieseberg at the University of British Columbia. I hope you are as proud as we are to be a part of this historic project.