Environment and Ecology

Environmental Challenges

What is a bioinvader?

A bioinvader is an exotic organism usually introduced into an ecosystem accidentally. These bioinvaders are either non-native plants or animals that often overwhelm the native species. For example, the kudzu vine, first introduced in the 1930s to control erosion, quickly spread in the southeastern United States and now grows uncontrollably. (For more about vines, see the chapter “Plant Structure, Function, and Use.”) Other bioinvader species include zebra mussels (that have taken over aquatic habitats in the Great Lakes), purple loosestrife (an invasive wild plant found in northern United States and Canada), the Asian long-horned beetle (first reported in New York and that has spread into the Midwest), and the emerald ash borer (one of many invasive beetles—this one currently spreading in the northeast and destroying ash trees).


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