invasive species



Invasive Species Lab

PLEASE TYPE YOUR ANSWERS IN RED! THANK YOU! DO NOT Change/remove/add question numbers to this lab, just put in your answer, in RED!


1. Discuss the differences between native, exotic, and invasive species.

2. Identify the importance of invasive species for biodiversity.

3. Explain how exotic species can be introduced into a new area.

4. Prepare and share a presentation on an invasive species of local concern.

5. Analyze and evaluate an invasive species of local concern.

Activity 1: Invasive Species

In the process of humans moving around the world, they have transported other organisms around the world. Some species were intentionally moved, such as bringing livestock and food with them. Other species were accidentally moved, such as stowaway rats that followed the humans. A native (indigenous) species is one that occurred naturally in a habitat before humans migrated to the area. Thus a species is native to a particular area and habitat. For instance, Dallas was originally Blackland Prairie with many grass and wildflower species occurring here. The Eastern gray squirrel, which lives in forests, is native to the forests of eastern Texas but not to the Dallas region. An exotic (introduced) species is a species that was somehow moved by humans. An invasive species is an exotic species that is reproductively uncontrolled. These species cause environmental, economic, and sometimes health problems.

Exercise 1: Invasive Species Movie

· For this activity you will watch a movie about invasive species. Watch “Silent Invasion” by Oregon Public Broadcasting at:

This is a video exploring the problem of invasive species. Students should take notes during the video to answer the following questions.

· 1. What is the difference between native, exotic, and invasive species? (3 points)

· 2. How do species spread to new areas? (2 points)

· 3. What environmental and economic affects can invasive species have? (2 points)

Activity 2: Invasive Species in Texas

Many invasive species have been introduced to Texas throughout the years. Only recently has it become obvious that invasive species cause an enormous amount of damage both environmentally and economically. Most citizens, however, cannot describe what an invasive species is and cannot name one that is a problem in their region.

Exercise 2: Invasive Species in Texas

Students will research one of the invasive species in north central Texas and will share a PowerPoint presentation to the class about the species.

Choose a species from the following list. Each student will have a different topic. This is first-come, first served. Submit your species in the discussion board.

Invasive Species – 1


1- Bastard cabbage (Rapistrum rugosum)

2- Bermudagrass (Cynodon dactylon)

3- Brazilian vervain (Verbena brasiliensis)

4- Chinaberry tree (Melia azedarach)

5- Chinese privet (Ligustrum sinense)

6- Chinese tallow tree (Triadica sebifera)

7- Chinese wisteria (Wisteria sinensis)

8- Common periwinkle (Vinca minor)

9- Field bindweed (Convolvulus arvensis)

10- Giant reed (Arundo donax)

11- Glossy privet (Ligustrum lucidum)

12- Golden bamboo (Phyllostachys aurea)

13- Guineagrass (Urochloa maxima)

14- Heavenly bamboo (Nandina domestica)

15- Japanese honeysuckle (Lonicera japonica)

16- Johnson grass (Sorghum halepense)

17- King Ranch bluestem (Bothriochloa ischaemum var. songarica)

18- Lilac chastetree (Vitex agnus-castus)

19- Nandina (Nandina domestica)

20- Pincushions (Scabiosa atropurpurea)

21- Privet (Ligustrum spp.)

22- Redtip photinia (Photinia spp.)


23- Asian clam (Corbicula fluminea)

24- Africanized honeybee (Apis mellifera scutellata)

25- Red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta)

26- Rock pigeon (Columba livia)

27- European starling (Sturnus vulgaris)

28- House sparrow (Passer domesticus)

29- Feral cat (Felis catus)

30- Feral pig (Sus scrofa)

31- Nutria (Myocastor coypus)

32- Zebra mussels (Dreissena polymorpha)

The presentation must be in Microsoft PowerPoint and contain the following #1-3:

1. An introduction, stating your name(s) and the title of your presentation.

2. Species information (they do not have to be in this order, but each slide needs to be titled clearly with what information is being presented):

· Common and scientific names of the species

· Photographs or images of the species

· Information on how to identify the species

· Native distribution of the species

· History of invasion

· Distribution in Texas

· Basic information/interesting facts about your species

· Ecologic and economic impact of species

· Legality of buying/owning species

(30 points for #1-2)

3. Include a reference page to cite all the materials you used to develop your presentation (needs to be in APA format and should be the last page of your presentation). If you are using websites, you must give the entire website address of the page you found the information and the date you accessed the website. References must be from reliable sources (.gov, .edu), not “.com’s”, “.org’s”, or a blog on plants. (5 points)

*Note: Do not “cut and paste” material from websites into your presentation. Everything must be in your own words. All PowerPoint presentations will be randomly checked for plagiarism. Any instances of plagiarism will result in a grade of zero (0%).

Invasive Species Concluding Questions

1. Are invasive species considered invasive everywhere? (2 points)

2. Why are invasive species a concern for biodiversity? Doesn’t adding new species to an ecosystem increase biodiversity? (4 points)

3. How have invasive species affected your life? Nothing is not an acceptable answer.(2 points)

Learn More: the sites below contain more information on the issue

· Read “Attack of the Alien Invaders” by National Geographic at

· Watch “Silent Invasion” by Oregon Public Broadcasting at

· Explore more at NOVA’s website on invasive species at

· Watch National Geographic’s “Strange Days on Planet Earth: Invaders” at

· Learn about invasive plants in Texas at

· Download an information sheet on Texas invasive species at

· Investigate invasive species at

· A coalition of organizations in Texas has developed a program to document invasive plant species throughout the state. They have a database online at where citizen scientists can input data about where invasive species have been found.

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