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Natural Inquirer Invasive Species Articles
Invasive species are any plants, animals, or organisms that is not native to the ecosystem they are in, and are likely to cause harm to the environment, the economy, or human health. Below are all Natural Inquirer articles related to invasive species.
Invasion of the Song Snatcher: Spotted knotweed has spread across the Western United States. Scientists in this study attempt to determine how the invasive plant has impacted the diversity of bird song. This article is found in the Citizen Science Natural Inquirer.
Lion in Wait: Lionfish are invasive in the Caribbean and Atlantic waters where they can now be commonly found. Scientists believe they can negatively affect the environment as invasive species. Scientists in this study compare different types of surveys, some conducted by scientists and others by citizens, to determine how they are similar and different in effectiveness. This study illustrates that citizen scientists can play an important role in scientific studies. This article is found in the Citizen Science Natural Inquirer.
Don’t Litter the Stream: An Invasive Tree Species and a Hawaiian Stream Food Web - 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. This article is found in the Hawaii Natural Inquirer.
Woolly Bully – Estimating the Effect of an Invasive Species on an Area’s Water Cycle (Monograph) - Water is constantly moving throughout the natural environment. Some scientists study the flow of water into, out of, and held within particular natural areas. Trees play a role in the flow of water by absorbing groundwater, releasing water as water vapor through its leaves, and slowing down runoff. In the forests of the southern Appalachian Mountains eastern hemlock trees make up about half the living plant material along mountain streams. However, these trees are being attacked by an invasive species called the hemlock woolly adelgid. Scientists in this article want to know how the flow of water might change near mountain streams if the eastern hemlock trees are killed by the hemlock woolly adelgid. This article is found in the Woolly Bully Monograph.
Worming Their Way In - Native earthworms are important to the health of forests by eating leaves and other plant materials. These earthworms tunnel and eat through the soil, making it rich in nutrients for plants to grow. Scientists have learned that nonnative earthworms are found in disturbed soils more so than native species. Invasive species consume what is needed for survival by native species. This can disrupt the balance so much that they put the health of the natural areas in danger. In this study, scientists were interested in learning whether invasive earthworms had invaded the undisturbed forest soils in north Georgia. This article is found in the Worming Their Way In Monograph.
And Then There Were Nun - The nun moth is a major pest of some plants in Europe and Asia. Insects are often transported from country to country by mistake when shipping goods for trade. The nun moth has not yet been found in the United States, however, scientists in this study wanted to discover which plants in the United States might be at risk if it were. This article is found in the Invasive Species Natural Inquirer.
Goll-ly! Don’t Take a Knapweed! - Spotted knapweed is a nonnative plant that is found in the Western United States. Once in an area, spotted knapweed takes over and out competes the native plants. In an effort to control the knapweed gall flies, which feed on the plant, were introduced. Gall flies, however, are also a nonnative species and may be affecting the deer mice population. The scientist in this study wanted to determine the effect of the spotted knapweed and gall flies on the population of deer mice in arid grassland ecosystems. This article is found in the Invasive Species Natural Inquirer.
Hurry Up and Wait - Oriental bittersweet is a nonnative plant that escaped gardens and is now found in areas where it is not native. Like other invasive plants, it quickly grows and takes over areas once it is introduced and out competes native plants. Most invasive plants, however, are unable to grow in forested areas because of a lack of sunlight. Oriental bittersweet is different though. Its seeds make their way in to the forest and wait for something to happen that will allow sunlight through. The seeds are then activated and the vine grows very quickly. The scientists in this study wanted to learn more about the relationship between sunlight and the growth of Oriental bittersweet. This article is found in the Invasive Species Natural Inquirer.
Knocked Out by Trout - This study takes place in the Sierra Nevada Mountains in an area called the John Muir Wilderness. Lakes in this area naturally do not have fish in them. However, in the 1950’s nonnative trout were introduced to many of the lakes. An earlier study showed a relationship between nonnative trout and the declining population of a native frog species. In this study, scientists wanted to determine if the trout in these lakes were affecting the populations of the Pacific tree frogs. This article is found in the Invasive Species Edition Natural Inquirer.
Moving Spore-adically - Sudden oak death is a relatively new disease of trees and plants in the United States and Europe. Not much is known about the disease, but it is known to be spread by plant nurseries unknowingly selling infected plants. Those plants then spread the disease to new areas. The disease damages but does not kill every species it infects, but it does kill many of them. Scientists in this study wanted to learn what causes sudden oak death to spread from tree to tree within a forest. This article is found in the Invasive Species Natural Inquirer.
Shoot! Foiled Again! - The pine shoot beetle is an invasive species in the Great Lakes region of the United States. The beetle is a problem because it damages or kills pine trees by using the trees for reproduction and feeding. In this study, scientists wanted to find out if natural chemicals produced by the beetles and other plants could be applied to pine trees to help protect them from being attacked by the pine shoot beetle. This article is found in the Invasive Species Natural Inquirer.
Tag, You’re It! - The Asian long-horned beetle is an insect pest that was discovered in New York and Chicago in the 1990’s. The Asian long-horned beetle uses trees for reproduction and food which results in killing the trees. Luckily, the beetle was quickly identified and destroyed, but at the cost of thousands of trees. Scientists in this study were interested in determining how far the beetle can fly every day to help understand how quickly it can spread and how to manage areas if a population of Asian long-horned beetles are found. This article is found in the Invasive Species Natural Inquirer.
The Emerald Ash Borer - The emerald ash borer is an invasive species to the United States. While it isn’t a major pest in its native range of northern China and Korea, here in the United States it has killed millions of ash trees and had a major economic impact. In this study, the student scientists tried to find out what kind of impact the emerald ash borer has in the Oxbow. This article is found in the Student Scientists Natural Inquirer.
The Emerald Ash Borer - The emerald ash borer is an invasive species that uses ash trees for reproduction and food. Their activity ultimately kills the tree. In this study, the student scientists are trying to find out how soil properties in the Oxbow are related to the ash trees infested by the emerald ash borer. This article is found in the Student Scientists Natural Inquirer.
The Garlic Mustard Plan - In this study, the student scientists wanted to find out if soil fertility had any effect on garlic mustard’s ability to be so successful when it invades new areas. This article is found in the Student Scientists Natural Inquirer.
North of the Border - Nonnative plants and animals live in areas where they are not naturally found. These species could be brought there intentionally or by mistake. Nonnative species become naturalized when they are successful in their new location. This success can harm native species and the ecosystem. A species range is limited by its ability to survive in different climates. The scientists in this study wanted to know how a naturalized species’ latitudinal ranges compare to its native ranges. This article is found in the Natural IQ Climate Change Natural Inquirer.