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Exotic Species

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Problem: Ballast Water
Identifies invasive species as a top threat to world oceans; provides explanation of shipping and ballast water's roles in the spread of marine exotics. Defines ballast water and its use in shipping, includes diagram of ballast tanks and cycle of loading and discharging water. Outlines threats from marine life transported in ballast water and cites examples of species that have invaded new environments in this way.
Grade Level: Middle school, High school

Nonindigenous Aquatic Species
Online resource center, maintained by U.S.G.S., provides information, data, links about exotic plants, invertebrates, vertebrates, diseases and parasites. Central repository contains accurate and spatially referenced biogeographic accounts of alien aquatic species. Search for species by state, drainage area, citation in texts; find fact sheets, maps showing occurrence in the U.S. Or, for each taxon, review list of exotic species, find scientific, common name, photo, status; link to facts and distribution map.
Grade Level: General public, High school

VIMS Molluscan Ecology Ongoing Rapana venosa Research
This marine snail (Rapana venosa) from Asia, was discovered in the Chesapeake Bay in 1998. VIMS scientists report their research on this exotic species, how its biology and life cycle allowed it to invade US waters via ballast water, and what impacts it may have on local ecology and shellfish populations. Describes reporting and bounty system for monitoring the species. Order CD and teacher booklet on this case study in invasive marine species.
Grade Level: High school, General public

Bridge DATA: Tracking the Invasive Veined Rapa Whelk
Veined rapa whelks (Rapana venosa) are predatory marine snails that have been introduced into the Chesapeake Bay, USA. These large snails eat ecologically and commercially valuable shellfish including oysters and hard clams. Rapa whelks are long lived, reproductively active and have few predators making them likely to become established if the habitat environmental conditions are suitable. In this activity, students will determine the risk of a rapa invasion in four hypothetical estuaries.
Grade Level: Middle school,High school,Undergraduate lower division,Undergraduate upper division

Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant K-12 Education Resources
This collection of Illinois-Indiana Sea Grant education resources includes several activities that introduce students to invasive species and seafood contamination. The goal of these activities is to educate not only students but adults on the issues of the Great Lakes. Resources are applicable to regions outside the Great Lakes.
Grade Level: Intermediate elementary, Middle school, High school

Bioinvasions: Breaching Natural Barriers
This Washington Sea Grant print publication, now posted on the web, is a good introduction to the history and science of bioinvasions. Provides definitions of native and non-native organisms, identifies introduced species, the pathways and characteristics of bioinvasions, and the habitat alterations that facilitate them. Case studies include the zebra mussel and green crab. Offers suggestions for how individuals can help and describes policy responses to aquatic introductions. Downloadable as a PDF file.
Grade Level: Middle school, High school

An Endless Invasion? Green Crabs, New England Intruders, Move West
An article describing the invasion of the green crab into New England waters. Learn all about this scallop-eating invasive species that is now spreading to the west coast. An excellent lesson on introduced species. Article also describes what locals call Japanese grass, Codium fragile, an alga that is displacing local eelgrass, a vital habitat to juvenile fin and shell fish. Site links to additional Chesapeake Bay invasive species information.
Grade Level: Middle school, High school

Black Sea Battle
Story of the invasion of jellyfish into the Black Sea and the resulting affects on the native fish population. An excellent introduction into introduced species and their effects on an ecosystem. Site features an abundance of information on alien species and the delicacy that goes into eradicating them. Also links to additional non-traditional science-related news events.
Grade Level: Intermediate elementary, Middle school, High school

Stop the Zebra Mussel!
A data analysis activity for assessing zebra mussel invasion risk in Virginia. Site includes background information on the zebra mussel, including methods of relocation, teacher guide, a list of additional resources, and a detailed classroom activity. Activity covers zebra mussel biology, optimal habitat characteristics, environmental impacts, action plans, and follow up activities.
Grade Level: Middle school, High school

COSEE Greatest of the Great Lakes Curriculum
Educating students about ocean and Great Lakes topics can enhance their math and science skills as well as foster a stewardship ethic. The Greatest of the Great Lakes comprises 41 innovative classroom activities designed for grades 4-10. This collection offers studentsí insight into Great Lakes concerns, while bridging the gap between science and other subjects, such as math, geography, and language arts.
Grade Level: Intermediate elementary, Middle school, High school

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