Beloved Invaders – Perceptions of Non-native Species

This episode of the Beyond Data Podcast (Season 1, episode 3) was originally released in August 2018.

The non-native brown trout, which the data show places a burden on imperiled native fishes, is revered in the United States, while other non-natives are demonized. In this episode of the Beyond Data Podcast, we take a deep dive into the interplay between non-native and native fishes–especially salmonids. We’ll look at how our perceptions toward introduced species are shaped, and we’ll ask the question of whether or not there is a place for non-native species in ecosystems we consider healthy. 


(in order of appearance)

Dr. Julie Lockwood, Professor in the Department of Ecology, Evolution, and Natural Resources at Rutgers University

Dr. David West, Science Advisor, Freshwater at New Zealand Department of Conservation

Kirk Deeter, Vice President of Trout Media at Trout Unlimited

Kim Todd, Sparrow Author of Tinkering with Eden and Sparrow

Dr. Nathaniel Hitt, Research Fish Biologist at USGS Leetown Science Center

Michael Steinberg, Author of Forthcoming A Brook Trout Pilgrimage and Associate Professor at The University of Alabama

Francis Brautigam, Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife 

Catherine Schmitt, Author of The President’s Salmon and Communications Director at Maine Sea Grant

Derek Young, Professional Fly Fishing Guide, Owner of Emerging Rivers Guide Services and Founder of Headwaters Matter


PART I [00:00] Non-Native Cover Fish

The cover of the winter 2018 issue of Trout Magazine features a brown trout.

Trout Unlimited’s Trout Magazine 

PART II [4:00] Nuanced Definition

Dr. Julie Lockwood’s Invasion Ecology, 2nd Edition

“Conserving Honey Bees Does Not Help Wildlife” in Science, January 2018

“How Invasive Feral Pigs Impact the Hawaiian Islands” from Island Conservation

“Why are lionfish a growing problem in the Atlantic Ocean?” from NOAA Ocean Facts

PART III [7:50] Earth’s Virgin Utopia

Silver Pine Lodge 

New Zealand Department of Conservation

“Rotenone treatment has a short-term effect on New Zealand stream macroinvertebrate communities” in New Zealand Journal of Marine and Freshwater Research

“Reintroduction of a native galaxiid (galaxias fasciatus) following piscicide treatment in two streams: response and recovery of the fish population” from Ecology of Freshwater Fish

Zealandia Sanctuary

Galaxiid Conservation Status

“Silently Spreading Death” from Fish & Game New Zealand is linked as a PDF

PART IV [21:55] The Brown Trout Comes to America

“Tinkering with Eden” by Kim Todd

PART V [27:00] What the Data Show

“USGS Study Reveals Interactive Effects of Climate Change, Invasive Species on Native Fish” 

“Brook trout use of thermal refugia and foraging habitat influenced by brown trout” in Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

Fausch’s “Competition Between Brook Trout (Salvelinus fontinalis) and Brown Trout (Salmo trutta) for Positions in a Michigan Stream” in Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

“Temperature‐dependent shifts in phenology contribute to the success of exotic species with climate change” in the American Journal of Botany

“How Climate Change is Helping Invasive Species Take Over” in Smithsonian Magazine

PART VI [31:50] Maine’s Embattled Coldwater Fishes

Maine Department of Inland Fisheries and Wildlife

IFW Angler Survey

PART VII [42:45] Immigrant Fish & Dark Rhetoric

“Why Do I Love Brown Trout So Much?” by Kirk Deeter 

David Theodoropoulos on Invasion Biology at the Public Interest Environmental Law Conference 

“What is the Brown Tree Snake” from USGS FAQs

“Conserving Honey Bees Does Not Help Wildlife” in Science, January 2018

“Why are lionfish a growing problem in the Atlantic Ocean?” from NOAA Ocean Facts

PART VIII [50:05] Angler Evolution & A Conservation Ethic

The President’s Salmon

Penobscot River Restoration Project

Trout Unlimited

Native Fish Coalition 

Eastern Brook Trout Joint Venture

Western Native Trout Initiative

American Sportfishing Association

Headwaters Matter


In addition to my guests today, special thanks to Loren McClenachan of Colby College and Molly Payne Wynne from The Nature Conservancy. Music by Andy Cohen and Fabrika Music at HookSounds. Sound effects by acclivity at A big shout out to Jess from the Murder Road Trip Podcast for New Zealand voice talent. Cheers to Clay Gloves at the Fish Nerds Podcast for doing all you do.

Beyond Data is reported, narrated and produced by me, Ret Talbot, in Rockland, Maine.


About the Beyond Data Podcast

For the past decade Beyond Data Podcast host Ret Talbot has been a freelance journalist and science writer reporting on fisheries at the intersection of science and sustainability. He frequently uses the hashtag #datamatter because, well, they do. But what happens when the data simply don’t exist, are insufficient or unavailable? What happens when so-called alternative facts are considered just facts and people operate under the impression that the plural of anecdote is indeed data? How do we reach consensus when everyone espouses his or her own data—his or her own facts? In the Beyond Data Podcast, Talbot and his guests go where he’s often been unwilling to go in his reporting–beyond data.

About Ret Talbot

Ret Talbot is a freelance writer who covers fisheries at the intersection of science and sustainability. His work has appeared in publications such as National Geographic, Mongabay, Discover Magazine, Ocean Geographic and Coral Magazine. He lives on the coast of Maine with his wife, scientific illustrator Karen Talbot.
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