In a natural ecosystem that has existed over thousands of years, all the species present have developed adaptations that have come into balance with one another. Adaptations of each species are such that it is able to maintain its place in the ecosystem, but it is not able to take over and wipe other things out. Herbivores don’t graze plants onto extinction; carnivores don’t catch and eat prey onto extinction. Invasive species are species introduced, often from another continent. In their native land they have developed adaptions that are appropriate to their native ecosystem. They often are not appropriate to the ecosystem into which they are introduced. Worst cases are plants that take over and drive out native plants; insect species, and disease organisms that totally wipe out the species on which they feed. Have students consider invasive species in your region. Type into your browser: invasive species _____ (enter your state in the blank).
Because of invasive species, human development resulting in habitat loss, and other factors, many species are on the brink of extinction. These are known as endangered species. Have students become aware of endangered species in your region and discuss what is being or might be done about it. Type into your browser: endangered species ___ (enter your state in the blank).