Ecology

Invasive Species

Invasive Species

Invasive species, such as red fire ants, introduced into an ecosystem often threaten native plants and animals.

Factors that contribute to the success of invasive species in an ecosystem:

1. Lack of natural predators.

2. Frequently bringing in foreign diseases that prevent native species from growing.

3. Can use resources that aren't used by other organisms.

Ways that an invasive species can affect its new ecosystem:

1. It can eliminate competitive species.

2. It can decrease the sources available for other species like food, shelter, etc.

3. It can add invasive species to an unoccupied niche.

Environmental factors that might have determined the pattern of fire ant invasion:

1. the warm temperature or lack of cold temperatures in southeastern United States

2. the available space and unlimited resources

Methods of eradicating or slowing the spread of these ants and the environmental consequences of each method:

1. using pesticides: Toxic to other organisms or the environment; pesticide-resistant strain increases.

2. introduce a predator: Long-term effects (positive or negative) on other

species when fire ant population decreases.