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THE SILENT INVASION! Species that are taking over right under our noses and what you can do about it!

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Presentation on theme: "THE SILENT INVASION! Species that are taking over right under our noses and what you can do about it!"— Presentation transcript:

1 THE SILENT INVASION! Species that are taking over right under our noses and what you can do about it!

2 Before we begin…. HOW MANY OF YOU…..  Have heard the term “invasive species” before?  Feel like you could define what an invasive species is?  Could give an example of an invasive species?  Could explain how invasive species are harmful?

3 So what is an invasive species?  The federal government definition:  An "invasive species" is defined as a species that is:  1) non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and  2) whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health.  Invasive species can be plants, animals, and other organisms (e.g., microbes). Human actions are the primary means of invasive species introductions.

4 Does Non-Native = Invasive?  Out of place organisms  Each place has its own unique ecological system. In its native setting, an organism is an integral part of maintaining balance in the ecosystem.  Upsetting the balance  When put in to a new area, the previously harmless species can cause damage to the new ecosystem it has been introduced to.

5 Why should we worry?  Invasive species have many types of impacts: Economic Impacts Infrastructure Impacts Ecosystem Impacts Human Health Impacts

6 Economic Impacts  Weeds, agricultural pests, plant pathogens and control programs for invasive animals cost the U.S. 137 billion a year!  Weeds take up space crops could be grown in  Pests like soybean rust actively kill crops  Build ups of weeds like buffel-grass pose a fire danger and have to be removed  Economies dependent on recreation suffer when an area become undesirable due to invasive species

7 A buffel grass fire being put out by an NPS firefighter and a lake in Michigan completely choked by aquatic weeds.

8 Infrastructure Impacts  Aquatic species are the worst offenders- we all need water, and it is needed for manufacturing and power production  Aquatic invasive species like the zebra and quagga mussel can clog intake pipes on dams and irrigation systems  Hydrilla and other invasive aquatic plants can clog boat engines and jam steering columns  The sheer weight of some aquatic invasive colonies can sink a dock or other floating structure

9 A pipe clogged with quagga mussels cut open Boat propeller completely disabled by hydrilla

10 Ecosystem Impacts  Aquatic invasive species change the concentration of filtrates and dissolved oxygen in the water  Invasive plants can alter soil composition and compete for light  Invasive animals alter the food web in an ecosystem  Invasives with no predators proliferate out of control

11 The impact of the invasive zebra mussel on the Lake Michigan ecosystem

12 Human Health Impacts  New organisms bring with them new diseases and pathogens!  The West Nile Virus and Avian Flu are considered to be invasive microbes  With the prevalence of global trade and travel, more could be coming!  Invasive plants “weeds” cause allergies in many people  Invasive aquatic filter feeders increase the amount of toxins

13 West Nile is one of many “invasive microbes”

14 How are invasive species spread? Commerce Recreational Activities Landscaping Pet trade Purposeful Introduction

15  International shipping brings invasives along for the ride in ballast water or attached to cargo containers  Trains pick up debris and material and spread them to new locations  Boats can carry invasive species in a number of ways  Trailers can also easily pick up and spread material  Even something as small as mud on your hiking boot could spread an invasive! CommerceRecreation

16  Be careful when you choose plants- many plants once used for landscaping have become invasive  Soil, sand and grass seed that has not been properly cleaned spreads weeds  Many aquatic weeds started out as aquarium plants that were released in to the wild when people “dumped” their tanks irresponsibly  People have also released some pets in to the wild LandscapingPet trade

17 Purposeful Introduction Ooops!  Some invasives were thought to be useful at first, then spread out of control  Many invasive plants began as intentional landscape or erosion control plants  Many invasive fish were originally stocked as game fish  Other invasives were introduced to control some problem, then became the problem themselves!

18 What is being done?  Government Programs  Task Forces, Councils, & Committees- for individual species multi-agency task forces are often formed to assess and attack the threat  Research Units and Labs- Government agencies and universities have developed labs to specifically research individual invasive species  Eradication Programs- once a lab has identified and tested a strategy, full scale programs are launched, often in government resource areas first

19 What can I do?  LEARN- find out what is invasive in your area and what is being done about it  The National Invasive Species Information Center can connect you to state and local resources  DON’T PACK A PEST-  Don’t bring fruits, vegetables, plants or animals when traveling  Inspect all of your recreational vehicles and gear

20 More ways to help-  SOURCE LOCALLY-  Use certified “weed-free” firewood, hay, mulch, sand and soil  Try to buy the above materials as locally as possible (50 mile radius)  Remove invasive plants from your yard or garden and try gardening with native plants  VOLUNTEER- join in on organized efforts to remove invasive species from natural areas

21 What are some examples of invasive species? The internet is a powerful ally- use it to find out specifically what is invasive in your area!  Some major ones that are U.S.- wide and known by most:  Kudzu Vine  Starlings  Killer Bees

22 Colorado River’s TOP 10 MOST UNWANTED  From New Zealand  Introduced through ballast water or game fish stocking in the Snake River in Idaho. Also can be spread on sport fishing equipment.  Mollusk- tiny, tough, born pregnant! Burrows in the sediment and feeds on detritus.  Displaces and competes with native invertebrates. Up to 500,000 can cram in a square meter. Harmful to sport fisheries.  From Eurasia  Introduced as an ornamental plant in the 1800’s.  Deciduous shrub- can spread vegetatively or by seeds. Has an extremely long taproot that can reach deep in to the water table.  Absorbs large amounts of water and creates large deposits of salt. Dense thickets of salt cedar and its intense thirst crowds out native plants New Zealand Mud SnailSalt Cedar (Tamarisk)

23 Tamarisk along the shores of the Glen Canyon portion of the CO River. Tiny New Zealand Mud Snails with a dime shown for scale.

24  From Brazil  Introduced by the aquarium trade in the 1990’s.  Floating tropical water fern- has strands that attach to each other rather than attaching to the soil.  Forms dense mats that block sunlight and reduce oxygen levels. Restricts other aquatic plants from growing. Covers entire lakes and ponds so that migratory birds can’t land.  From the Dneiper River in the Ukraine  Introduced through the ballast water of transatlantic shipping vessels.  Mollusk- attaches on to hard surfaces and filter feeds.  They are extreme water/food filters removing large amounts of plankton. They also take in lots of pollutants which harm wildlife that eat them. Colonies can clog water-intake pipes and weigh down docks and other structures. Giant SalviniaQuagga Mussel

25 Giant Salvinia floats in a pond. A buoy covered with Quagga Mussels at Lake Pleasant.

26  From Central and Eastern U.S.  Accidentally introduced during trout stockings in the 1900’s. Also introduced through the aquarium trade and for pest control.  Amphibian- lives on the edges of permanent water bodies but can travel overland when the weather is moist. Eats any animal it can overpower and fit down its throat!  Competes with and preys on native species. Its dietary range can reduce biodiversity.  From Eurasia  Introduced as an ornamental plant in the late 1800’s.  Thorny Shrub- produces a small orange red fruit. Can fix nitrogen in its roots so it is able to grow on bare rock and soilless areas.  Crowds out native species. Grows close to river banks and can snag and flip rafts. BullfrogRussian Olive

27 Russian Olives along a river bank. A bullfrog waits for its next meal.

28  From Africa  Introduced by the aquarium trade in the 1960’s.  Aquatic Weed- grows in sediments up to two meters deep. Grows in clusters of long stems with tiny leaves on them.  Crowds out native plant species. Can fill an entire lake or pond restricting water flow and making boating difficult.  From Canada and Central U.S., Australia (Red Claw)  Found outside its native range in the 1960’s- thought to be spread by anglers who use it as bait.  Freshwater crustacean- resembles a small lobster. Crayfish live in rocky freshwater areas and eats whatever it can.  Competes aggressively with native crayfish. Where there are no native crayfish the population quickly proliferates out of control. HydrillaCrayfish

29 A Northern Crayfish in a bait bucket. Hydrilla looks like a small harmless plant.

30  From Eurasia  Introduced by the aquarium trade in the early 1900’s.  Aquatic Weed- grows submerged in slow moving water. Has long stems and tiny leaves.  Crowds out native species. Creates dense mats that can interfere with recreational activities.  From Eurasia  Imported for aquaculture in the 1960’s  Freshwater fish- they are filter feeders not bottom feeders like their cousins the Common Carp. These fish are a prized food fish in Asia but are not eaten here in the United States.  Competes with native species for food and living space. Jumping carp can also injure recreational boaters. Eurasian WatermilfoilAsian Carp

31 A pond clogged with Eurasian Watermilfoil. An Asian Carp swimming in a shallow stream.


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