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Hurry Up and Wait: Investigating an Unusual Strategy for Invasion

This article is from Issue Invasive Species - Vol. 8 No. 1.

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The Oriental bittersweet is a vine that was transported to the United States from Asia in 1860. Oriental bittersweet escaped from gardens and has spread into natural areas where it is not native. When the vine takes over natural areas, native vegetation cannot compete with it for the resources they need. The scientists in this study wanted to learn more about the relationship between different amounts of sunlight and the germination and growth of Oriental bittersweet.

Welcome to the Invasive Species edition

Note to Educators

Invasive Species Lesson Plan

Student Notes Page

Reflection Section Answer Guide

Education Standards Correlations


Meet the scientists that contributed to this article:

"Science Topics" covered in this article:
  • Life Science
  • Technology and Science

"Environmental Topics" covered in this article:
  • Growing and Using Trees and Other Plants (Students)
  • Protecting Trees and Other Plants (Students)
  • Vegetation Management (Educators)

Regions covered in this article:
  • Alaska
  • Forest Products Lab
  • Intermountain
  • International Institute of Tropical Forestry
  • Northern
  • Pacific Northwest
  • Pacific Southwest
  • Rocky Mountain
  • Southern
  • Southwestern

"Thinking About Science Themes" covered in this article:
When scientists complete their research, they communicate the scientific method they used and their findings with other scientists by submitting a writeup of their research to a scientific journal. Other scientists evaluate the writeup and make suggestions about how the scientists can improve the writeup. The writeup may be accepted or rejected by the journal based on these evaluations. If your teacher asks you to write a paper and then gives you feedback on how your paper can be improved, he or she is doing something similar to what scientists do. There are two major differences, however. When your teacher gives you feedback, you know who is making the suggestions for improvement. When scientists review and evaluate the writeups of other scientists, the identity of the reviewers is kept secret. This method is called a blind review. A blind review gives the reviewers more freedom to make suggestions. The other difference is that the reviewers do not know who wrote the paper they are reviewing. What is one advantage of keeping the author's identity a secret?
Specific "Thinking About Science" Themes:
  • Characteristics of Scientists

"Thinking About Environmental Themes" covered in this article:
When plants are introduced into an area where they are not native, they sometimes reproduce to the point of disrupting or destroying the native vegetation. When this change happens, plant diversity is reduced and normal ecosystem processes are changed. Nonnative plants that damage a native ecosystem are called invasive plants. Invasive plants have certain characteristics that help them invade and take over the native ecosystem. For example, they often produce lots of seeds that are dispersed far and wide by wind or animals. They can also spread by underground roots called suckers. In this study, the scientists studied a plant with some of these traits called the Oriental bittersweet. Oriental is a term that used to refer to areas east of the Mediterranean Sea. The region known now as Asia, therefore, used to be called the Orient.
Specific "Thinking About the Environment" Themes:
  • Ecosystems
  • Invasive Species

NSE Standards covered in this article:
  • Abilities necessary to do scientific inquiry (A)
  • Diversity and adaptations of organisms (C)
  • Nature of science (G)
  • Populations and ecosystems (C)
  • Regulation and behavior (C)
  • Risks and benefits (F)
  • Science and technology in society (F)
  • Science as a human endeavor (G)
  • Understandings about science and technology (E)
  • Understandings about scientific inquiry (A)