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 15 2012: Are there any native species so to speak?
    Was the ecosystem ever stable, like in the Old Testament?
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      Mar 16 2012: "native species" are called endemic. There are many.
      Some even very local like the fish in the great African lakes: Victoria, Tanganyka and Malawi.
      Also among others Madagascar, Australia, New Guinea have their own species and evasive plants and animals are of great concern for those countries.
      In W. Africa you often find species of fish that are local to only a part of one river system, endemic to that area.
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        Mar 16 2012: informative
        But my point is that everything, at some point, has invaded an ecosystem, thrown everything off balance and caused massive extinction of something else.
        it's a jungle out there
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          Mar 16 2012: A good example, I think is cyanobacteria. As the first oxygen-creating species, it could have potentially destroyed everything. As oxygen levels rose, organisms struggled to survive in the new environment. However, without cyanobacteria, life as we know it would not exist. Oxygen breathing humans would not exist. The history of life on earth is littered with stories of upheaval and the subsequent quest to restore balance.
    • Mar 17 2012: Hi ya all! It is a total jungle out there. ( thanks Gerald ) We as humans, will be our, own down fall. We cannot learn from history , present, OR future. If there is a god, she or he, is laughing at us. :(
    • Mar 17 2012: This is a great question. What exactly is "native"? How long must a species exist in an environment to be deemed native to that area? Where do we set the baseline for determining what really "belongs" in an environment? I don't think there is any one answer that will satisfy all of these questions.
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        Mar 17 2012: Cuteness is involved as well, it seems. No one gives a damn about invisible natives.

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