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Invasive Species

Chapter 21 deals with ecology, a subject which is dear to me. My parents met in graduate school when they were studying marine microbial ecology, and my younger brother is currently a Ph.D student in fisheries ecology. Ecology is technically part of the biology grouping in the book, but it really serves to bridge the gap between biology and geology, just as the chapter on organic compounds bridged the gap between chemistry and biology, and the chapter on the atom bridged the gap between physics and chemistry.

During the pandemic, I began doing a daily walk along the canal near my house, just to get outside. One day, I walked under a tree hanging over the canal and scared an iguana, who jumped into the water. As I looked into the water, watching it swim away, I saw a common pleco ( (Links to an external site.)) munching on some algae in the shallows, as well as a tiger oscar (  (Links to an external site.)and a bullseye snakehead ( (Links to an external site.)) lurking in the weeds, hunting smaller fish.

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The pleco and oscar are commonly sold in the aquarium trade as juveniles because of their striking looks, and both originated in south/central America. However, both of these fish will rapidly out-size all but the largest home aquariums, and so many hobbyists will dump them in our waterways when it becomes apparent they cannot care for them. Snakehead are also invasive to Florida, originating in India. It isn’t clear from basic research how they were introduced to our waterways, but they have taken over many of them because they are proficient hunters. Iguanas are well-known invasive species here in Florida. They thrive in our tropical weather and have spread through the area like wildfire.

Seeing all of those non-native species made me think of other examples of invasive species. These can have major impacts on an ecosystem, so your task for this discussion is to research an invasive species that interests you. In your main post, tell us a little about the species and answer the following:

· Its origin and how it came to invade wherever it did (if known – speculation is okay)

· Why it is able to survive and out-compete native species

· The ecological and/or economic impact of the species

· Anything else of interest related to this species invading a new habitat


Research about “European Green Crab” is already used.