Site author Richard Steane
The BioTopics website gives access to interactive resource material, developed to support the learning and teaching of Biology at a variety of levels.

Alien Invasions

The topic of foreign or alien species introduced into different environments has been a bit of interest to me for some time, but I have not put anything on the web about it as I have no personal information to provide.
In fact I have sometimes felt like putting up a list of interesting topics to do some (web-based?) research on.

Please use and review these or feel free to get in touch and submit any other web page URLs which appear to be relevant.

Of course, since all of these web pages are external to Biotopics, I cannot be held responsible for their content and make no claims as to their appropriateness, or even their authenticity.

Suggested task: scan through some of these references below, follow up on their own links and look up some others if you like (or look in books!), then pick on one (or two, or three) example/examples that interests/interest you. Name the alien species, try to give information on how it got into its new habitat (not always known, but often traceable back to Man!) describe its effect on the ecosystem, especially on other species but also the environment itself.

It is important that any user of information from the internet gets into the habit of identifying the source if it is copied (even in part) for coursework or homework. There should be no penalty for using information sources like textbooks and the internet - after all background research is expected. Most authors do not mind students using pictures because they often make written accounts more interesting but these should also be credited, using the URL of the web page concerned. However, if anyone passes off other people's work as their own, they are guilty of plagiarism.

Partly for this reason, I have left the full website URL visible below to assist in correctly identifying the proper sources for these articles. It is never good enough to put the name of the search engine used instead of the source of the page used.

A Science News for Kids article:

A more advanced and densely presented article on Introduced Species in the Bay of Fundy (Canada) and Environs. “alien invasions are a major cause of declining biodiversity in Canada, second only to habitat loss”

An article from TheParliament.com (a news, policy and information service working at the heart of the EU!)

BBC item: Alien species 'cost Africa billions'

The Natural History Museum, London :mitten crabs:

Botanical Society of the British Isles

Crackdown on alien species

Non-native Caribbean frogs have become established in some areas in Hawaii:

Invasive Alien Species in Canada:

Information on all Alien or Non-native organisms that are invasive in the UK

Baltic Sea Alien Species Database

Alien species have already had a tremendous effect on Hawaii's unique flora and fauna.

100 of the World's Worst Invasive Alien Species

Biological Roulette Click on the wheel to see how some alien species were introduced, and what happened.

The Threat Posed by Alien Invasives :

EarthWire/UK gives you a free daily overview of environmental news from the United Kingdom.

MarineBio.org's mission is to share the wonders of the ocean to inspire education, research, and a sea ethic.

Introduced species From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia :

Bassenthwaite Lake restoration programme's view on alien plant species:

Brecon Beacons National Park Authority alert on alien species living in most parts of this National Park

Plantlife (the wild-plant coservation charity) say that non-native invasive plants are the second most important threat to our native plants after habitat destruction.

The Source for Information and Images of Invasive & Exotic Species A joint project of The University of Georgia's Bugwood Network, USDA Forest Service and USDA APHIS PPQ.

Invasive species From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Invasive Plant Species Resource Page

The Nature Conservancy Welcome to the Invasive Species Initiative!

U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service :"Invasive species are infiltrators that invade ecosystems beyond their historic range."

Detection of an outbreak of cactus moth (Cactoblastis cactorum) in Isla Mujeres, Quintana Roo, Mexico

The Australian Government Department of the Environment and Heritage (DEH)page on Invasive species including:

Zebra mussels making Lake Michigan look pretty clear

See if you agree or disagree with this blogger's opinion:

Study Showing Wolves' Importance to Ecosystems

Wolves in Alberta

Some photos of arctic wolves and their prey

The Reintroduction of the Red Wolf (different species): A Project on the Effects of Reintroduction of a Top Carnivore to the Wild

Examples from the syllabus specification

Some of these suggestions seem rather apocryphal, but there are a few articles below.

Deer on an unspecified island in Canada; population saved by arrival of wolves?
Curiously web searches reveal several instances of Canadian islands with thriving or excessive populations of deer, seemingly advertising themselves as ideal for human hunting (with guns). Possibly the same conclusion?

Rabbits in Australia

Stag beetles in Japan:
Native Stag Beetles in a Losing Battle in Japan.
The total number of imported insects is believed to be one to two million a year, while beetle collecting is becoming a popular hobby in Japan.

Japanese knotweed in UK countryside The home page for the UK-based Japanese knotweed alliance which was established in November 1999 to highlight the problems posed by this invasive weed and to promote its natural control with natural predators.

Other examples may touch upon topics such as biological control, and human carelessness!
Copy these into your own favourite search engine!

in UK

The Oxford Ragwort Story.

The canadian pondweed story

Signal crayfish

Chinese mitten crabs

Green parrakeets

Grey squirrels

escaped/released mink

coypu (different story!)

hedgehogs on South Uist island
The annual cull of Britain's favourite animal, the hedgehog, in the Uist islands of Scotland looks set to end.

Rhododendron ponticum

in Australia

Cane toads

Opuntia (prickly pear cactus)




in New Zealand

Red deer

Galapagos Islands




Tilapia (fish)

feral cats

feral dogs (Is Australia an exception?)

Rats, especially on islands



www.BioTopics.co.ukHome Contents Contact via form Contact via email Howlers Books WWWlinks Terms of use Privacy