Highlighting National Invasive Species Awareness Week - An Introduction to Invasive Species 

February 22 -26, 2021 is National Invasive Species Week (https://www.nisaw.org), and Pennsylvania Sea Grant is taking part by sharing information and promoting opportunities to learn more about aquatic and terrestrial invasive species. The terms “non-native” and “invasive” can often be confused, so let’s take a moment to consider the differences.

The Invasive Threat  

Native plants, mammals, fish, mollusks, insects, and many other types of terrestrial and aquatic species, generally co-exist within native habitats, maintaining a balance of food, shelter, and predation. 

When a new species is introduced it is considered “non-native.” These non-native species can, but do not always, wreak havoc. Non-native species may exist alongside native species, but each threatens to alter native habitats and species in some way. Non-native species examples might include the introduction of a sport fish, such as the small mouth bass to rivers and streams where it is not natively found, or the broad variety of plants, shrubs, and trees found at landscape nurseries or available online.

“Invasive species” are non-native species that have detrimental impact on ecosystems and native species. Invasive species vigorously compete for food and shelter resources and prey on native species. Ill-equipped to defend against the invasive predators, native species are at risk.

Invasive species are often spread through innocuous actions or activities like boating, fishing, land development, or the transport of firewood. Other examples include the release of aquarium pets into a local lake or waterway; planting invasive vines which spread quickly and smother native plants, trees, and habitats; or the use of insects like the Chinese praying mantis to control other garden or agricultural pests.

No matter how they arrive, invasive terrestrial and aquatic species are hitchhiking their way across Pennsylvania and beyond and controlling and/or eradicating them is expensive. Pennsylvania Sea Grant works with partners and resource managers across the state by providing training, outreach and educational materials, and programs for communities and landowners – all in an effort to reduce the spread and stop the invasive hitchhikers.

Opportunities to learn more about Invasive species:

Aquatic Invasive Species - http://seagrant.psu.edu/topics/invasive-species/aquatic-invasive-species

Terrestrial Invasive Species - http://seagrant.psu.edu/topics/invasive-species/terrestrial-invasive-spe...

 

 

 

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