TED Conversations

Lucy Irons


This conversation is closed.

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?


Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.

  • thumb
    Mar 17 2012: In relation to your last question, I think that it's completely possible for an invasive species to contribute both positively and negatively in the environment. Because somethings are changing rapidly, it might be possible for an invasive species to fill in an ecosystem service gap that is created by a species that can't adapt as quickly, especially if the invader is a strong competitor. What is hard about this type of situation is trying to determine if the negatives outweigh the positive contributions. I think it would take a great deal of time and study to determine that, and unfortunately, in that amount of time, it might then be too late to control the invasive.
    • Mar 17 2012: I agree. I think that trying to weigh out the benefits vs the bad contributions that an invasive species can be a time consuming period. Implementing goals, strategies, and actions can be even more time consuming. What is important though is prevention in the first place. If educating people to become more weary of what they are bringing with them when they travel, and how invasive species can affect our environment hopefully some of the species that have potential to invade, will not have the opportunity to.
    • Mar 17 2012: Education is an important aspect of combating invasive species. When the general public becomes aware of what an invasive species looks like and how it negatively affects the environment it is in then people will be more obliged to contact local officials who can deal with the invasive. But when people are unaware of an invasive that is where the real danger comes from, when an invasive unknowingly wrecks havoc on an ecosystem. So then what is the best method toward educating people?

Showing single comment thread. View the full conversation.