Invasive Species What They Are and How We Can Better Control Them

Overall critique. You have a strong word choice in your essay, nice transitional sentences, and nice sentence lengths. Over the course of millions of years, life on our planet has evolved and adapted to thrive in their native ecosystems. Complex food webs developed, helping to maintain balanced population numbers of individual species. As humanity too evolved and spread across the globe, often flora and fauna were brought with them, or stowed away in cargo unbeknownst. These plants and animals, in their new environment, excelled due to a lack of predators and reduced evolutionary selection pressures.

The intentional and accident transplantation of species still occurs in the present day, with deleterious results.

Invasive species introduced into non-native environments can result in habitat loss, extinction of native flora and fauna, and economic loss to affected communities and states. Most documented invasive species pose some degree of threat to the native life in non-native environment. There are several methods of intentional species introduction. One such method comes from the intentional release of pets into the wild.

Two high profile examples of this are the Burmese pythons stalking the Florida Everglades, and Lionfish damaging the reefs of the Caribbean. In both cases, these animals disrupt the native food web, often becomes the new apex, or top predator. The European Starling was introduced in New York in the Mid-1900s by a Shakespeare fan club who wanted to introduce all the animals and plants mentioned in his plays to the U.S. The starling’s population has since exploded into the hundreds of millions and competes with native birds for resources.

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An example of invasive plants comes from Chinese Wisteria.

Brought to the west from China in the 1800s, this deciduous vine blooms a spectacular show of scented light purple to deep amethyst flowers. An example of accidental introduction comes from the island of Guam. The brown tree snake was accidentally introduced to the island as hitch hikers(Spelling:Single word. Hitchhikers) in cargo bound for the island in the 1940s and has since devastated the island. In nearly every example, the invasive plant or animal does some harm to the new environment. Often, there are no species in the nonnative environment capable of acting as a predator to the invasive. In other cases, the invasive plant or animal has a breeding, feeding, or defensive adaption that helped it survive in its native habitat, but allows it to thrive and excel in its new home. Lionfish have venomous spines that deter most would be predators, and the enormous adult size and frequency that Burmese pythons breed have allowed both invaders to establish themselves at the top of the food web.

Wildlife Biologists studying these cases have seen stark declines in the populations of native animals, especially endemic species: animals or plants that can only be found in an area. Wisteria and other invasive plants can grow to out of control when left unchecked. This allows them to out-compete native plants for vital nutrients and sunlight. Out of control Chinese Wisteria can be found in the Southeastern United States, in states such as Alabama, where some native plants have gone extinct due to being smothered by the flowering vine. In the case of the Brown tree snake’s accidental introduction to Guam, it is directly responsible for the extinction of at least 10 bird species native to the Island. It has also placed an extensive predation pressure on native bat and lizard populations. Many of these bird(Grammar:Birds) and lizard species consumed pest insects and benefited local farmers. Their disappearance has added an economical burden to local farms, who now must find new ways to deal with the pest insects.

When invasive species overtake a new environment, often the economic effect is as detrimental as the environmental impact. When these species move in and take over, it takes substantial manpower and financial obligation to remove or control invasive species. It also poses undo hardship on localities and businesses. The Asiatic Carp, for example, has the potential to decimate the ecosystem of the Great Lakes and surrounding states, as well as physically harm(Grammar: Could say as well as to physically harm people, or also as well as physically harming people) people. These fish, when startled, are known to leap from the water. There are reports of these fish, some weighing well over twenty pounds, knocking kayakers (Grammar: Kayaker’s. Could also say Kayaks.) unconscious and breaking the noses and even collarbones and ribs of boaters as they travel down rivers overtaken by these fish. If these fish made it into and established a population in the Great Lakes, they would wreak havoc on native flora and fauna by disrupting the food web, decimating plant populations faster than they can replenish themselves, and outcompete native fish.

In addition, states like Ohio have a multi-million dollar a year sport fishing industry, and if the Carp ever do invade the Great Lakes, the region is projected to lose as much as three billion dollars a year and up to 4,000 jobs due to habitat degradation, and losses to the sport and food fishing industries as well as the region’s eco-tourism industry. While the threat of invasive species grows, there are ways citizens and governments can stem the tide. A public educated on the issue is a great place to start. Most states have a game warden service or similar state level(Grammar: State-level) department that among their many duties is both handling and educating about invasive species. The Commonwealth of Virginia, for example, has a detailed list of banned species due to their potential to become invasive if accidentally or intentionally released. This list is readily available from the Department of Game and Inland Fisheries. Pet stores can educate their customers on the importance of rehoming their pets as an alternative to releasing their unwanted pets into the wild. Citizens can get further involved through their elected representatives and through community involvement.

In the case of the Great Lakes battling the Asian Carp, elected officials on the state and federal level have passed laws giving state and federal agencies such as the Army Corp of Engineers the tools and authority they need to combat the issue effectively. The threats that invasive species pose to our ecology and economy are not to be underestimated. Even well-intentioned releases into our native environments can have deleterious effects to(Grammar: ON) species diversity and local ecosystems. However, there are still steps that can be taken to reduce introductions and fight back against invasion. Community involvement on the local level, (Grammar:Consider taking the coma out.) and efforts established by state and federal representatives can help ensure our environments remain free for generations to come and secure our economic well-being.

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Invasive Species What They Are and How We Can Better Control Them. (2022, Mar 09). Retrieved from

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