Before you begin, it is recommended that you understand the description and methology of FAF data used for this application available at Freight Analysis Framework. The application has been tested on LAN and maynot be stable under WI-FI network.

How to Start

Start by selecting options from the dropdown menus, and click on PLAY button under run animation to view animation !

  • Origin State specifies the state where invasive species is first introduced.
  • Commodity specifies which commodities through which the species can get transferred.
  • Mode specifies modes of transport through which the species get transferred.
  • Establishment Rate specifies the rate through which species establishes in the newly introdued state.
  • Environmental Similarity specifies whether or not consider environmental similarity factors on the establishment growth of the species.

The value in animation slider represents yearly based time series. To view the animation under another dropdown option from the beginning, pause the animation and set its value to zero.

The color intensity over each state in map represents the relative invasion success. Higher color intensity represents more invasion. Refer to the color index on the right.

To understand the general methodology of the application, please refer to the Methodology section of about page.

Overview :

ComFlo was developed by the participants of the NIMBioS 2015 SRE Invasive Species group as part of an effort to project the movement of invasive species via domestic shipping pathways in the United States.

Data Source :

The commodity flow data were obtained from Freight Analysis Framework, website developed and maintained by the Office of Freight Management and Operations, a part of the Federal Highway Administration’s Office of Operations. The FAF is a comprehensive source for domestic freight movement, incorporating a variety of data sources into a complex flow network representing 123 regions of the United States. Four years were selected for our purposes: 1997, 2002, 2007, and 2015, each containing flow data encompassing 43 commodity classes and seven modes of transportation. For more information on FAF methodology, or to access the source data, please visit their website as listed above. This data is provide courtesy of Oak Ridge National Laboratory, U.S. Dept. of Energy.


The FAF data provides tonnage information on commodities shipped within the United States at state level resolution. Weight values from four sets of data are used in a resampling method to generate the transition matrix at the core of a stochastic matrix model used to create projections of terrestrial invasive species spread. Additionally, we incorporate elements of environmental difference and a discrete formulation of the logistic growth equation in our projections to achieve greater biological soundness in the results. A state vector with values between zero and one track the establishment of an invasive species in each state. At each time step, the state vector grows according to the logistic equation, and the environmental matrix and transition matrix are applied to project the spread of the invasive species. The resulting state vectors at each time step, averaged over the course of many simulations, are used to produce an animation showing the projected spread of an invasive species through the United States over the course of many years.


SRE Participants: Ashish Gauli, Nathan Wikle, Ryan Yan
Mentors: Daniel Simberloff, Louis Gross
Graduate Assistants: Cedric Landerer, Angela Chuang

While this is a freely available resource, we ask that any graphics taken from the website and used elsewhere are attributed to the developers Ashish Gauli, Nathan Wikle, Ryan Yan, and NIMBioS.


This work was sponsored by the National Science Foundation through NSF Award #DBI-1300426, with additional support from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville.


If you have any suggestions or queries regarding the application, please forward them to the ComFlo Development Team.

Copyright: Ashish Gauli,
Nathan Wikle and Ryan Yan