SCIN 130 American Military University Wk 7 Invasive Species Discussion and Responses

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The Introduction:

Non-native, alien, exotic, weedy, and invasive are all terms to describe plants or animals that are introduced into an ecosystem where they are not usually found. So what’s the problem with invasive species? Let’s look at a few examples. Invasive species currently impact half the species listed as Threatened or Endangered in the U.S. One study estimates the total cost of invasive species damage in the U.S. to be over $100 billion each year (Pimentel, Zuniga & Morrison, 2005).  In the Great Lakes region of the United States, invasive species that come from ballast water for ocean vessels are estimated to cost $138 million a year in damage (Rothlisberger, Finnoff, Cooke & Lodge, 2012). In the southeast, a vine called kudzu grows voraciously over everything choking out other plants, wildlife habitat, forestry plots, and even taking out powerlines at the tune of over $500 million (Bettcher, n.d.).  The list of examples and impacts goes on.

The Objective:

Understand the top global invasive species, the damage they cause and what we can do to stop them. 

For This Forum:

You can either use a search engine to find invasive species in your area (search for your state and invasive species) or you can visit:

Find an invasive species in your area or somewhere you have been – a plant, animal, insect, fungus.

Include the name of the species in the title of your post – before posting, make sure to check the list so that you do not choose the same species as your classmates!

Identify your geographic location and research your chosen species

Answer these questions:

  • What is the common and scientific name (properly formatted)?
  • Where did it originate?
  • How did it get to your chosen location (speculate if you don’t know)?
  • What characteristics of the species makes it successful?

What are the aeffected native species (any plants, animals, etc.)?

Bettcher, M. (n.d.). The growing problem of kudzu: An exploration of issues and solutions. Retrieved from

Pimental, D., Zuniga, R. & Morrison, D. (2005). Update on the environmental and economic costs associated with alien invasive species in the United States. Ecological Economics. 52(3): 273-288.

Rothlisberger, J.D., Finnoff, D.C., Cooke, R.M. & Lodge, D.M. (2012). Ship-borne nonindigenous species diminish Great Lakes ecosystem services. Ecosystems. 15(3): 462.

Minimum 300 words answer. 

Classmate #1:

Good morning class,

I live in Missouri, there are many weeds out here, as I am sure is the same for every other state. I chose to write about the purple loosestrife or Lythrum salicaria (L. salicaria) I chose it because it is a beautiful plant, or weed if you want to call it that. It has a very pretty purple flower that it grows. I added a photo at the bottom of this post. This plant was a native to Europe but got accidentally introduced to North America in the mid-1800s ( Another site, however, states that it was brought to the US for “ornamental and medicinal purposes” ( There are seven hybrids of this plant that are nonaggressive. The plants that are aggressive will crowd out native plants. This is a problem for wildlife that use the native plants for food and shelter. Purple loosestrife can “destroy marshed, wet prairies, and clog up waterways” The purple loosestrife is mainly in the northern half of Missouri with higher concentrations along the Missouri and Mississippi rivers. This plant likes to be be near water and wetlands. This plant can spread quickly as it can produce up to 2.5 million seeds per year. Smaller concentrations of this plant, about 100 plants, can best be stopped by hand weeding. Getting as much root as possible out of the ground, if not it will still be able sprout new stems. More than 100 plants or plants that are too large to pull will best be taken care of by herbicides like Roundup or Rodeo. These should only be applied by licensed herbicide applicators. According to larger infestations  are not currently controllable and control of them is dependent on future research. 

Classmate #2:

Hello class,

A common invasive species that inhabit the local Texas area is the zebra mussel or Dreissena polymorpha. Fishing on lakes throughout the local area, I have become accustomed to seeing the zebra mussel stuck to the sides of boats, buoys, or lying in plain sight at the bottom of a shallow lake bed.  The zebra mussel is a small freshwater shellfish that is native to the Black and Caspian Seas in Eurasia but has become widespread throughout the United States (US) and other countries.  Zebra mussels were introduced to the US as stowaways in the ballast water of transatlantic commercial ships frequenting the Great Lakes and Mississippi Waterways.  Zebra mussels further dispersed throughout the US by other cargo ships and boats to invade other bodies of water, including Texas.

Zebra mussels disrupt the ecosystems by monotypic colonization. That is, the bivalves populate in large numbers of themselves.  They outcompete native aquatic life for food by growing on top of and suffocating native clams and mussels causing near extinction.  Zebra mussels affect all classes of algae species, resulting in a shortage of food sources to native species of freshwater mussels and fish.  Millions of dollars have been spent trying to control, clean, and monitor the spread of zebra mussels.

Because zebra mussels are challenging to control, a law and campaign were put into effect throughout Texas to protect the lakes. A “Clean, Drain, and Dry” campaign was established to prevent the further spread of zebra mussels to other bodies of water.  Boaters must remove and clean anything that has been in contact with the water.  All water from the boat, including water in live wells and bait buckets, must be drained.  The boat should be dried in the sun for five days before launching into another body of water.  Boaters may be subjected to a $500 fine for failing to clean, drain, and dry their boats.

Through this research, I learned how rapidly the zebra mussel could populate, invade, and overtake an entire aquatic ecosystem.  Failing to care for my boat properly may further perpetuate the problem.  


Invasive Zebra Mussels (U.S. National Park Service). (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2020, from

Home. (n.d.). Retrieved April 14, 2020, from…

Classmate #3:

Hello Classmates,

For my invasive species I am choosing to do the Mongoose. I chose this animal because I used to live in Hawaii and they were a pain in the neck. The scientific name for it is: Herpestes javanicus it is a vicious weasel-like creature. The mongoose originated in India and was brought over to Hawaii from there. The mongoose was introduced to Hawaii in 1883 to the sugar industry to control rats in the sugar cane fields.  They are successful creatures because they are fast and come out during the day and sleep in dens at night.  Hawaiis state bird the naenae bird and sea turtle eggs are the most effected by this animal. The mongoose steals the eggs of these two endangered species. They can only be found on the island of Oahu now, because Lanai and Kauai have made it against the law to bred or have these species as animals. There is a large fine of $250-$1000 if you are caught breeding or having them as pets. I have learned from this research a lot, I had no idea they were as detrimental the the islands as they are. I lived there for 3 years and had no clue. We just stayed away from them because they were of the rodent family and my family is not a fan of rodents. What also stuck out to me during my research is that they cause approximately $50 million in damages every year.

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