Classroom Resources: Aliens Among Us

A round table with James H. Brown and Dov F. Sax, Daniel Simberloff, and Mark Sagoff
April-June 2007 (Vol. 8, No. 2)

Read the article >>

Discussion Questions

  1. Are native invasive species fundamentally different from exotic/alien invasive species? What separates invasive from non-invasive species?
  2. What do you think about Brown and Sax’s assertion that “there is locally fewer than one extinction of a native species for every successful colonization of an alien species”?  Even if invasive species are not causing the extinction of other/native species, might they be affecting population-level diversity or ecosystem services?
  3. Are all alien species invasives?
  4. What are some of the major drawbacks to Simberloff’s suggestion of treating alien species as “guilty until proven innocent”?
  5. What are some of the benefits and problems associated with homogenization of the earth’s plants and animals?

Websites for Further Information

Invasive species in the news

  1. http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?file=/c/a/2007/04/29/MNGI3PHO3U1.DTL
  2. http://origin.denverpost.com/headlines/ci_5792339
  3. http://www.battlecreekenquirer.com/apps/pbcs.dll/article?AID=/20070426/OPINION01/704260315

Key Concepts

  • Invasive species
  • Synergistic interactions between threats
  • Precautionary principle
  • Local diversity versus global diversity
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