When invasive species take over…

Invasion is not only an issue for terrestrial ecosystems but for aquatic ecosystems as well.

Three methods of invasion include:

Gardening – People often plant these invasive species in their home gardens without knowing the implications and dangers of doing so.

Boating – Boaters who fail to clean the underside of their boats perpetuate the invasion of species when they travel across different bodies of water. Seeds and segments of the species attach to the boat, are brought to a new area and detach.

Natural means – Invasives are not only human-introduced. They could also invade through natural means such as seeds or segmentation. Invasive species have advantages over native species like early budding and dying stages.

The effects of invasion are as follows:

Destruction of native life – Invasive species choke out native species, creating a disruption or imbalance in the ecosystem they now occupy.

Algal blooms – When large amounts of curly-leaf pond weeds die and decay, nutrients are released and contribute to algal blooms. Algal blooms are a more serious issue in US lakes.

Constricted recreation – Mats of plant-life form along the surface of the water making recreation, such as swimming and boating, harder to do.

Here is an infographic to show why protecting bodies of water, like the Great Lakes, is important. The Great Lakes are linked with many things such as providing us with drinking water, a basin for agriculture, a place to enjoy recreational activities and sustaining our economy through fisheries. If invasive species take over, they are not only directly affecting the aquatic species and ecosystem but they indirectly affect human life as well.

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