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Don't Litter the Stream: An Invasive Tree Species and a Hawaiian Stream Food Web

This article is from Issue Hawaii Pacific Islands - Vol. 16 No. 1.

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From 1920 to 1950, a tree species called albizia (Falcataria moluccana) was brought to Hawai‘i from islands located north and northeast of Australia. A fast-growing tree, albizia now grows all over Hawai‘i and is taking over the places where native trees have grown. The scientists in this study had observed an increase in nitrogen in some Hawaiian streams. The places where nitrogen was increasing were areas with albizia trees growing along the streams. The scientists wanted to know if aquatic organisms were eating the albizia leaf litter instead of the native algeas, thus changing the nitrogen concentrations in Hawai'i's food webs.

Welcome to the Hawai'i-Pacific Islands edition

Note to Educators

Invasive Species Lesson Plan

Cultural Essay Lesson Plan

Reflection Section Answer Guide


Additional Resources for this Article:
Meet the scientists that contributed to this article:

Specific "Thinking About Science" Themes:
  • Scientific Topics

Specific "Thinking About the Environment" Themes:
  • Food web

NSE Standards covered in this article:
  • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry (A)
  • Natural hazards (F)
  • Nature of science (G)
  • Populations and ecosystems (C)
  • Populations, resources and environments (F)
  • Science as a human endeavor (G)
  • Structure of the earth system (D)
  • Understandings about science and technology (E)
  • Understandings about scientific inquiry (A)