A Study on Invasive Species

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Invasive species is a term that is used both for plants and animals. In general, it refers to the introduction of a non-native species into an environment in which because there are no predators tend to dominate the ecosystem and adversely affect the habitat. The overall issue is that the environment becomes out of balance and out of control due to the lack of any natural controls on reproduction or spread. This can be predators or herbivores, and in a world of global commerce, and despite attempts to control, have become problems in many areas (USDA, 2012). One interesting and often quoted example surrounds the plants and animals brought to Mesoamerica during the voyages of Columbus in 1492 often called "The Columbian Exchange." Not all non-native species were dangerous, but because of the lack of controls in certain ecosystems, many plants and animals tended to overpopulate or harbor diseases that indigenous peoples and animals had no natural immunity to (See Figure 1). One recent example of problems with invasive species occurred between April and October of 1993 when there were torrential rains and flooding in the mid-western region of the United Sates. The flood contributed to the spread of the zebra mussel from the Great Lakes into the lower areas of the Mississippi River system. This ecological pest, a native to Europe, was accidentally introduced into the Great Lakes in the 1980s by ships moving goods between Europe and the United States. The zebra mussel is an
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