Source: LOOP SCOOPS
Major funding for LOOP SCOOPS is provided by the Corporation for Public Broadcasting and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency.
Although the information in these materials has been funded in part by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency under assistance agreement 83447601 to WGBH, it may not necessarily reflect the views of the Agency and no official endorsement should be inferred.
In this animated video from LOOP SCOOPS, a sphinx asks a boy named Ben whether it's good or bad to buy an African clawed frog in a pet store and then release it into a pond. Ben initially decides that setting the frog free is a good idea. But after some consideration, he decides that invasive species of frogs may "wreck the place," tipping an ecosystem out of balance.
An invasive species is a non-native species, like kudzu or zebra mussels in the United States, whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic harm, environmental harm, or harm to human health. These species grow and reproduce rapidly, causing major disturbance to ecosystems. Approximately 42 percent of threatened or endangered species are at risk due to non-native, invasive species.
One example of an invasive species that is devastating ecosystems is the Asian Longhorned Beetle, a species native to China. It was first discovered in the United States in New York State in 1996, and has also been found in Illinois, Massachusetts, and New Jersey. The beetles cause damage by tunneling into the trunks and branches of trees, weakening and eventually killing them. The reason they are doing so much damage is that the predators that control their numbers in China are not found in these American ecosystems.
This pest attacks a wide variety of hardwood trees, particularly maples, and is considered a serious threat to the lumber, wood products, maple syrup, and tourism industries. If it became established over a large area, it could also significantly disrupt the forest ecosystem. The only way to treat an infestation is to cut down the affected trees. So far, over 1,550 trees have been cut down and destroyed to eradicate the beetle from Chicago, as well as 6,000 trees in New York, 18,000 trees in Massachusetts, and almost 23,000 trees in New Jersey.
Here are suggested ways to engage students with this video and with activities related to this topic.
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