Why do species invasions matter?

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Clip Guide

Clip Guide

: Here you will find clear descriptions of what you just saw, how they know what they said they knew, why they know it to be trustworthy information. Finally we will ask the question, "So what!" and explore why the information is important.

WHAT do we know?

In this 1994 clip from the presentation "Biological Invasion Overview," Dr. Peter Vitousek describes different types of global change.  Among these changes, he highlights biological invasion, or the impacts of invasive species. He attributes the importance of biological invasion to the fact that it can lead to biodiversity loss or changes in how entire ecosystems function.

HOW do we know?

Dr. Peter Vitousek draws his information from the work of previous scientists and uses charts to present his information in a clear, concise manner.

WHY can this be trusted?

Peer review forms an important component of scientific research. Group meetings and discussions with other well-respected members of a scientific field are one way for scientists to learn about and critique each other's work. In this clip, you hear confirmation of the impact of invasive plants on fire regimes from a member of the audience. 


The spread and development of human communities has led to changes in the natural world occurring on a global scale, particularly the spread of non-native species.  Introduction of a new species to an area can lead to changes in how the ecosystem works or a loss of some native species. Research, such as Dr. Vitousek’s, helps communities to understand what may occur from and potential causes of species invasions, so that they may make informed decisions about preventing or responding to these changes.

Printable Companion Guide: 
Further Reading
Further Reading: 

A text summary of this presentation can be found in the AGCI library under Biological Invasion as a Global Change, 1994, p 65.