TED Conversations

Lucy Irons


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Are you concerned about the spread of invasive species?

Invasive species are non-native species that have a negative impact on their introduced environment. Invasive species are a huge issue not only due to their environmental impacts, but their economic ones as well. According to the National Invasive Species Information Center, there are currently about 50,000 invasive species in the United States alone that cost over $138 billion annually to manage. invasive species have a number of distinctive traits, including A general diet, large amounts of genetic variation, the ability to survive in a wide range of climates, a continuous breeding season, and the production of many offspring every year. What role do these versatile organisms have in a world where many species and ecosystems potentially lack the diversity required to survive rapid changes in their environment? Is it possible that, in the face of global climate change and biodiversity loss, invasive species can contribute something positive to biological systems?


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  • Mar 16 2012: Change is always hard, and it is difficult for us to "let go" of certain species that we might be losing, but I think each case needs to be looked at individually. For example, it seems that zebra mussels can in fact be eliminated with the bacterial remedy that by all accounts seems not to harm the ecosystem in anyway. Other measures against invasives seem likely to cause more harm than good. So I guess I agree with both sides - I think sometimes it is in everyones best interest to try to remove the species if this can be done effectively and without negative impact, and sometimes we all just have to learn how to get along and adapt to the new situation, and that goes for other species that might be negatively impacted by that invasion.

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