Define what constitutes an invasive or alien species.

Discussion Topic 1

Topic #1 Invasive or Alien Species

Invasive or alien species have decimated natural ecosystems and cost us untold millions of dollars in environmental damage.

  1. Define what constitutes an invasive or alien species.
  2. Why, in general, do invasive species pose such a serious problem for natural ecosystems?
  3. Select one invasive species from the list below (be sure it is different from your classmates) address the following:
  • Where did this species come from and where and how was it introduced?
  • What effect has this species had on the ecosystem?
  • Provide one new interesting or surprising fact about your species.
  • Zebra Mussel (Dreissena polymorpha)Emerald Ash Borer (Agrilus planipennis)Eurasian Watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum)Mediterranean Fruit Fly (Ceratitis capitata)Purple Loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria)Red Imported Fire Ant (Solenopsis invicta)Asian Swamp Eel (Monopterus albus)European Gypsy Moth (Lymantria dispar)Northern Snakehead (Channa argus)European Spruce Bark Beetle (Ips typographus)Sea Lamprey (Petromyzon marinus)Cane Toad (Bufo marinus)Nutria (Myocastor coypus)European Starling (Sturnus vulgaris)European Green Crab (Carcinus maenas)Wild Boar (Sus scrofa)Curly Pondweed (Potamogeton crispus)Kudzu (Pueraria montana var. lobata)Africanized Honeybee (Apis mellifera scutellata)Mile-A-Minute Weed (Persicaria perfoliata)Russian Olive (Elaeagnus angustifolia)Scotch Broom (Cytisus scoparius)Quackgrass (Elymus repens)Yellow Toadflax (Linaria vulgaris)


Discussion Topic 2

Ecological Concepts

We have learned a lot of important ecological concepts this unit. Briefly explain TWO of the following ecological concepts and provide an example for each you described. I expect more than just a sentence for each; demonstrate depth, breadth and application in your responses.

  1. Ecological succession – include what it is and the difference between primary and secondary
  2. One-way flow of energy between trophic levels – what does this mean and address why energy is not cycled like nutrients
  3. Limiting factors – what are they and provide two specific examples
  4. Carrying capacity – what is it and how it may be affected over time

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