Fires caused by invasive Buffel grass are changing the landscape

And we’re back people! This blog is still happening. Much like invasives spread in bursts, so do the posts on this blog. Our content comes suddenly and in large numbers.

Some of you may have noticed this blog is biased. We have repeatedly ignored a top invasive group, Plants! Purposely or not, agricultural practices have had a long history of spreading plants (animals and insects too!) and then dealing with the consequences.

Today’s featured species, Buffel grass (Cenchrus ciliaris) is a plant that was introduced for agriculture and then turned out to be invasive.  OOPS!

Dense Buffelgrass in Saguaro National Park, photo from the National Park Service

Dense Buffelgrass in Saguaro National Park surrounding native vegetation, photo from the National Park Service

Buffelgrass is native to eastern Africa and Asia but now, it is invasive throughout the world. We can get a feel for how far the problem reaches thanks to Dr. Victoria Marshall’s map.

In the red we see how far this grass has spread!

In the red we see how far this grass has spread!

In  Australia and Arizona, the drought tolerant Buffel grass was introduced to prevent soil erosion and to feed cattle. As it turns out, this grass makes for amazing cow food, growing over and over after being eaten by the bovines. For a long time, this was working out great for farmers but then, Buffel grass escaped the cow pens.

A cow standing in a converted buffel grass pasture. I took this photo while visiting Alberto last year, near one of his study sites outside Hermosillo. Photo By Pacifica Sommers from her Blog on the subject check it out goo.gl/2UK6Vh

A cow standing in a converted buffel grass pasture near Hermosillo, México. Photo By Pacifica Sommers from her Blog on the subject, check it out!

The grass began multiplying like wild fire around areas of un-natural disturbances like the sides of roads. The edge of roads became prime-real estate for the grass, which used those paths to spread.

Another roadway where buffet grass is dominating the shoulder.

Roadway in Arizona where buffel grass is dominating the shoulder. Source: Arizona Desert Museum.

 

a Cleared road way, where buffel grass has been removed in Arizona.

A Cleared road way, where buffel grass has been removed in Arizona. Source: Arizona Desert Museum

In the Arizonan desert,  good intentions have led to fiery consequences.

Buffelgrass fire in Tucson, Arizona. Photo taken by courtesy of Kevin Kincaid, Rural/Metro For Forest Service

Buffel grass fire in Tucson, Arizona. Photo taken by courtesy of Kevin Kincaid, Rural/Metro For Forest Service

Buffelgrass ignites and sustains hotter fires than native plants, like the cartoonish Saguaro cactus (Carnegiea gigantea), can handle. 

Saguaro Cactus (gigantea)

Saguaro Cactus ( Carnegiea gigantea)

In some places in the Sonoran dessert, the grass has completely changed the landscape.

Part of the landscape in Tucson's Tumamoc Hill laboratory where buffel grass is dominating the landscape.

Part of the landscape in Tucson’s Tumamoc Hill laboratory where buffel grass is dominating the landscape. Source: Arizona Desert Museum.

The Roadrunner and Coyote-esk deserts-capes that have made the Saguaro’s shape iconic, could become at risk of disappearing because of this new combustible neighbor.

In some of our favorite cartoons, the Saguaro inspired cactus makes cameos.

In some of our favorite cartoons, the Saguaro inspired cactus makes cameos.

 

The Saguaro cactus is not only part of our childhood memories, but a pillar in the culture of the people who call the Sonoran desert home. To the people of the Tohono O’odham Nation this cactus’s fruit is central to rain ceremonies, and as a consequence their agricultural practices. I first learned about the role of the Saguaro for the Tohono O’odham Nation from Tohono O’odham community college undergraduate, Ulrick Francisco who was doing research on Buffel grass. In an interview you’ll have to wait until the next post for, Ulrick talked to me about the effects of the Buffel grass on the culturally important Saguaro.

Ulrick Francisco from Tohono O'dham comunity college talks to me about his work on Buffel grass

Ulrick Francisco from Tohono O’odham community college talks to me about his research on Buffel grass

The fires caused by Buffel grass are also problematic for Arizonan homeowners on the grass’ turf. Their homes are in great danger of going up in flames, putting their lives at risk.

Efforts are being made by Arizonians to remove the grass, but for the most part it has to be done manually in a slow moving process.

Just like this grass, there are many other invasive species that are harder –at times impossible– to remove than to prevent. It’s all about prevention, stop invasives before they start.

 

Links for more info on Buffel grass

https://www.nps.gov/sagu/learn/nature/buffelgrass.htm

https://www.desertmuseum.org/buffelgrass/

A contribution from Christina De Jesús.  

In the mountains of Costa Rica    An avid baker, dancer and gardener.  A soon to be Master in SCIENCE!.

Mis encuentros con la vida silvestre bella de Puerto Rico

Antes de comenzar a compartir mis asombrosos descubrimientos acerca de la vida silvestre de Puerto Rico, primero quiero hacer mención de por que un “biólogo evolutivo” de Bélgica ha dado a parar aquí. Proviniendo de Bélgica, donde es debatiblemente, difícil de encontrar la naturaleza en un estado prístino, me siento muy emocionado de vivir en una isla tropical que sirve como hogar a un bosque tropical pluvial propio. Las islas además tienen proveen un beneficio adicional para las personas que como yo, están interesadas en la evolución. Típicamente, las islas aisladas son el resguardo de comunidades de especies única con una historia evolutiva que es más fácil de comprender que aquellas encontradas en los continentes. De lograr entender el origen geográfico de las islas, comparar comunidades de especies nos puede ayudar a tener una vistazo a los procesos que moldean estas especies y comunidades en escalas de tiempo evolutivas. Puerto Rico, por ejemplo sirve como hogar a 10 especies de lagartijas o Anolis quienes forman parte de un grupo mucho más grande de lagartijas producto de diversificación rápida, en las islas vecinas del caribe. Las especies de Puerto Rico están adaptadas a vivir en hábitats específicos ( en el dosel, ramas o troncos de arboles, en arbustos, etc.). De manera semejante grupos de Anolis en las isla de Jamaica, Cuba y Española, habitan los mismos hábitats aunque evolucionaron independientemente en cada isla. Me siento muy ansioso de encontrarme con estas criaturas hechizantes ya que han contribuido inmensamente a nuestro entendimiento de la evolución. Aunque debo de admitir en este momento que mis observaciones iniciales de la vida silvestre en Puerto Rico fueron un poco conflictivas…

He aquí mi pequeña historia acerca de mis encuentros con la vida silvestre de Puerto Rico. Los encuentros que más me impresionaron durante mis primeros en las isla sucedieron justo cuando llegué hace dos meses y medio, listo para vivir la experiencia de la naturaleza. Recuerdo bien el primer animal que vi en mi llegada a San Juan ( sin incluir las palomas y el chango que es bastante común). Luego de dejar mi equipaje, decidí caminar cerca de la playa en el Escambrón. Allí me tope con un animal similar a un dragón, era la Iguana verde ( Iguana iguana). Su tamaño, garras filosas y mirada amenazante me impresionaron. Solo había visto una o dos, desde bastante distancia, en un viaje a Panamá. Logré acercarme con cuidado, pensando que no vería esta todos los días, esta no era para nada tímida. Que suerte! Este de seguro sería mi animal favorito en Puerto Rico.

Green iguana ( Iguana iguana ) Steven Van BelleghemGreen Iguana (Iguana iguana). Steven Van Belleghem

Al día siguiente, fui a visitar mi nuevo lugar de trabajo en la Universidad de Puerto Rico en Río Piedras. Es un lugar bastante bonito y verde. Con patios ondulantes y los arboles más grandes de toda el área. El campus cuenta con su propia vida silvestre impresionante. Inmediatamente note una bandada enorme de pericos monjes ( Myiopsitta monachus) volando juntos en centenas! Me imagino que estas aves no recibieron su nombre por meditar silenciosamente (Ver video). In Bélgica había visto unos periquitos de anillo rosado volando libremente, pero esos no son nativos Bélgica e además nunca los vi volando en grandes bandadas. Así que una vez más, me sentí muy impresionado!

Pericos monjes  (Myiopsitta monachus)  contando el uno al otro chistes graciosos frente a la torre de la UPR. Steven Van Belleghem

El próximo encuentro que tuve que se quedó conmigo rondando en mi mente, sucedió el próximo fin de semana cuando fui a la playa en el balneario de Vega Baja a practicar buceo. Tuve esperanzas de ver un pez león allí (Pterois volitans ), que conocía como especie invasora en el Caribe, pero aún así son cool. No vi alguno, pero estoy seguro que veré uno tarde o temprano, se supone que hayan muchos alrededor de la isla. En vez de eso, de camino a casa vi una pequeña ave, con una cola muy conspicua. Al buscar en Google “ pequeña ave con cola larga en Puerto Rico” aprendí muy rápidamente que se llama la ave viuda colicinta (Vidua croura), otro miembro de la vida silvestre fantástica de Puerto Rico.

: Pin tailed Whydah (Vidua macroura). Wikipedia

Viuda colicinta (Vidua macroura). Wikipedia

Parecía que la vida silvestre en Puerto Rico tiene mucho que ofrecer, o eso pensé. Pues… que tonto soy… resulta que la iguana verde es de América del Sur, los pericos monje son de Argentina y la viuda colicinta de África sub-Sahara. Estos seguramente fueron introducidos como mascotas por su ornamentación, los cual explicaría por que son tan “cool”. Así pues, aunque las iguanas verdes con nítidas, no debería de ser mi especie favorita de Puerto Rico. Por el contrario, son una especie invasora problemática para la isla. Por consiguiente , he ajustado mi especie favorita numero uno a el Anolis bastante menos conspicuo, la lagartija común Anolis cristatellus. Una especie nativa de Puerto Rico, pero invasora en otras islas!
Anolis cristatellus

 Anolis cristatellus haciendo lagartijadas. Observase las marcas del a Iguana verde en el tronco del árbol. Steven Van Belleghem

Mantente aquí para mas encuentros con la vida silvestre de Puerto Rico

 

 

Cartoon Steven

Una contribución de [es] Steven Van Belleghem, PhD. También conocido como  Esteban el Suave.

What is that thing…. eating my baby?!

What is that thing…. eating my baby?!

I don’t want you to think I hate animals. I truly and honestly don’t. I’m an avid conservation biologist, who always keeps her eye on the prize. Sustainable practices, coupled with a deep understanding of how we can protect ecosystems. But sometimes… Sometimes I just want to chop up little pests (who indeed are animals too) and put them in a blender!

 

I apologize if my anger is spilling over onto your desk at this point. I am pissed! You would be too if you gardened. Yes, this story is about my garden and some obnoxious visitors I had this morning. Bear with me.

Gardens are just like pets, you watch them be born, sprouting from that tiny seed you so lovingly sowed. You nurture them, careful to water them enough, not too little and not too much. Your plants might get sick and you nurture them back to health. You see them sprout those first flower buds, those first bits of fruit. They become your babies and like with any baby, you protect them and if someone (or something) hurts them you become enraged.

 

Here’s the scene, I woke up on yet another beautiful tropical morning. The sun was shining, birds chirping, cars in rush hour traffic honking, a seemingly regular day. Not unlike other seemingly normal days, I went to my garden to water my plants and see how they were doing. To my shock, disgust and dismay my peppers were by engorged green slugs!

 

 

DSCN1173

Can you spot the little devil?

After a fair amount of cursing I went back inside got a jar and put them in. I stomped around my garden in anger and found a weedy tree to the back of the house full of these pesky caterpillars. Yes, yes, I know caterpillars and slugs aren’t the same thing.

As I picked them off the tree and continued to fill my jar the tiniest “pluck” sound could be heard . Only After I cut down the weed and made sure no more of these nasty guys was left, was I satisfied. I declared, jar in hand, “to the lab!” (See. Dexter’s laboratory).

Giving the death eyes to these critters

Giving the death eyes to these critters

 

 

 

While every <i>other</i> scientist nerd in the lab was fascinated with my jar of critters I remained unmoved. I hated the contents of that jar, they ate my babies! As my ever curious colleagues googled the species, I continued to be blinded by anger.

 

Steven_and_worm

Nerds at work: critter crawling on colleague’s computer as he searches for species information.

 

 

As it turns out, it’s an invasive species. So an invasive species affected me directly, not an abstract farmer, not a person somewhere in Florida, me! This species turned out to be the Tobacco hornworm or Manduca sexta if you’re Latin.

The tobacco hornworm is a species that wreaks havoc on plantations of the solanum genera (the plants that we know as tomato, tobacco, pepper and the like). Although I must admit the caterpillar is pretty, the moth that it turns into makes it seem like a jellybean. These moths lay their eggs on solanum plants that later burst out and eat the plant. Luckily, just like with Phillip ( the Asian citrus psyllid) parasites can in turn eat up the caterpillar and slow them down in their path of solanum destruction.

 

Manduca sexta-

Manduca sexta  adult moth- Wikipedia

 

 

As it turns out invasive species affect us in many unexpected ways, for me, where I work every day with the invasive green iguana (more on that later), it really brought new relevance to taking steps in preventing and controlling the spread of invasive species. I hope my story will give you the same feeling, next time this could happen to you.

 

 

A contribution from Christina De Jesús.  

In the mountains of Costa Rica    An avid baker, dancer and gardener.  A soon to be Master in SCIENCE!.

My beautiful wildlife encounters in Puerto Rico

Before I begin to regale you with my astonishing findings on the wildlife of Puerto Rico, let me detail why an “evolutionary biologist” from Belgium now finds himself here. I started working as a post-doc at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras a little while ago. Coming from Belgium, where it is, arguably, hard to find pristine nature, I am very excited to work on a tropical island that serves as a home to a proper tropical rainforest. Being interested in evolution, islands have an additional benefit. Typically, isolated islands harbor unique communities of species with an evolutionary history that is easier to understand than continental communities. If we manage to understand the geographical origin of these islands, comparing their species and communities can give us insights into processes that shape these species and communities over evolutionary timescales. Puerto Rico, for instance, is the home of ten Anolis species that are part of a larger group of rapidly diversified lizard species occurring on other nearby islands and the mainland. These species are adapted to live in specific habitats (canopy, twigs, trunk, bushes, etc.) and similar, but often independently evolved, groups of species are found on other islands such as Jamaica, Cuba and Hispaniola. I am very excited to encounter these captivating lizards as they have contributed immensely to our understanding of evolution. My early observations of the wildlife of Puerto Rico were a little offset though…

Here is a little story of the wildlife encounters that most impressed me during my first days in Puerto Rico. I arrived on the island two and a half months ago ready to experience some nature. I remember well the first animal I saw upon my arrival in San Juan (not including pigeons and the rather common Greater Antillean grackles). After dropping off my luggage I went for a little walk close to the beach in Escambrón and stumbled upon a big dragon like Green iguana (Iguana iguana). His size, sharp claws, spines and angry look impressed me. I had only seen one or two from a distance before, during a two week trip to Panama. This one was not shy as I managed to approach him carefully, thinking that I would not see this every day. Cool! This was bound to be my number one favorite animal in Puerto Rico.

Green iguana ( Iguana iguana ) Steven Van BelleghemGreen Iguana (Iguana iguana). Steven Van Belleghem

The next day, I went to visit my new work location at the University of Puerto Rico, Rio Piedras. It is a nice green place, with rolling lawns and the largest trees in the area. The campus even has its own impressive wildlife scene. I immediately spotted giant flocks of Monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) flying together by the hundreds. I’m guessing these birds did not get their name from being silent meditators (see video). Back in Belgium I had seen some rose-ringed parakeets flying freely, but these are not native to Belgium and I never saw them in large flocks. So again, very much impressed!

Monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) telling each other funny jokes in a tree in front of the clock tower at UPR. Steven Van Belleghem

The next wildlife encounter that got stuck in my brain had to wait until the following weekend when I went to a beach in el balneario de Vega Baja, to snorkel. I hoped to maybe see a Lion fish (Pterois volitans). I knew they are invasive in the Caribbean, but they look pretty cool. I did not see any though, but I am sure I will come across one sooner or later because there should be plenty around. Instead, on the way home I saw a small bird with a conspicuously long tail. Googling “long tailed small bird Puerto Rico” quickly taught me that it is called the Pin tailed whydah (Vidua macroura), yet another wonderful member of the Puerto Rican wildlife.

: Pin tailed Whydah (Vidua macroura). Wikipedia

Pin tailed Whydah (Vidua macroura). Wikipedia

So it seemed that Puerto Rican wildlife indeed had lots to offer, or so I thought. Well … silly me … it turns out that the Green iguanas are from South America, the Monk parakeets are from Argentina and the Pin tailed Whydah from sub-Saharan Africa. These were most likely all introduced as ornamental pets and likely also explains why I thought they were so ‘cool’. So even though Green iguanas are cool, it should not be my number one favorite Puerto Rican species. In contrast, they are actually very invasive and cause problems on the island. Therefore, I adjusted my absolute number one: the less conspicuous crested anole (Anolis cristatellus) native to PuertoRico, but invasive on other islands!Anolis cristatellus

Crested anole (Anolis cristatellus) doing pushups. Note the Green iguana marks on the bark of the tree. Steven Van Belleghem

Stay tuned for more encounters of Puerto Rican wildlife!

 

 

Cartoon Steven

A contribution from  Steven Van Belleghem, PhD. Also known as Esteban el Suave.

The Psyllid strikes back

The Psyllid strikes back

This Post is the second in a two part exposé on Phillip, the asian citrus psyllid. For part one click here.

When Phillip, the Asian citrus psyllid, decides to munch on citrus plants he produces salivary secretions (eewwww!!!) that can transmit pathogens into the plant. Pathogens are all the different entities that make living things sick. One of the transmitted pathogens happens to be the bacteria Candidatus Liberibacter sp., which causes the Huanglongbing disease, known as citrus greening or HLB. We can call it the “I’m greening, I’ greening!” disease (please read it as it was from The Wizard of Oz, as she is melting…meeelltiinngg!!!). Phillip is a deadly dinner guest, when he transmits this disease the plant’s (and fruit, seen in the picture below) growth is affected; nutrients aren’t transported properly within the plant and it dies in about 5 to 8 years. Phillip however, gets away unscathed and simply moves on to his next host.

Oranges turning green

The I’m greening, I’ greening! disease, is also native to subtropical Asia, and was introduced into the Americas along with Phillip. Basically, transmission of the disease is not unlike other vector transmitted diseases, think Malaria, think Dengue fever or Chikungunya in humans. An infected Phillip feeds on a plant and transmits the bacteria. The bacteria reproduces and slowly infects the plant. Meanwhile, some of Phillip’s phill-py friends feed on this plant and themselves get infected. As they feed on other plants they spread the infection.

The fast spread of I’m greening, I’ greening! disease, first observed in Brazil in 2004, in Florida in 2005 and in California in 2008, has had significant impact over the agricultural sector, In Florida alone, between 2006 and 2011, I’m greening, I’ greening! has resulted in $1.7 billion in losses yearly, a reduction in production of about 200 million boxes of citrus per season, an increase of 30 cents per gallon in the price of citrus juice and thousands of lost jobs. Yep, for all this chaos, blame Phillip.

Because Phillip is the most important vector of the I’m greening, I’ greening! causing bacteria, most research has focused on controlling this psyllid. From the production of genetically modified citrus plants, the creation of traps utilizing pheromone and essential oil baits to studies on the effects of altitude on its growth and activity, a variety of approaches are being studied and implemented. An interesting, and controversial, approach is introducing a biocontrol, that is using a different species to control Phillip. If you’re thinking this sounds suspicious, well there’s a catch. A biocontrol is another non-native species (is what?). In this case, Tamarixia radiata, a parasitic wasp native to the Middle East. The wasp lays its eggs on the psyllid nymphs (a.k.a Phillip’s babies), killing them as they emerge from their eggs … straight out of the film Alien.

He's coming out of meee!

Photo by Angel G. Rivera-Colón

Yes, that’s a wasp coming out of a baby Phillip. Currently, biocontrol of  Phillip by the use of T. radiata has been studied in Pakistan, California and Florida, with apparent success. These studies suggest that parasitism is specific and that other insects appear not to be affected. Now, the long term effect of the introduction of this other potentially invasive species are not known.

Because of its economic impacts, the Asian Citrus Psyllid is an invasive species that attracts a lot of interests from the government and economic sectors. In the United States, the Department of Agriculture has dedicated a lot of resources to combat the spread of Phillip and I’m greening, I’ greening! disease. Recently, the government allocated $1.5 million to develop a Huanglongbing Multi-agency Coordination Group (HLB MAC Group) to implement biocontrol efforts and other methods of ACP control, leading to a boom in ACP related research.

The future looks promising, as there is consensus between the government, the scientific community, the farmers, and the general public that this is a concern that needs to be treated. Hopefully in the future, this will be the case for other important invasive species.

You may think “What can I do to solve this?”. Well, if Phillip already is where you live there’s not much you can do about him. If you have citrus plants that you think are infected you might have to remove them (KILL IT WITH FIREEE!) to prevent further infection. Be aware of where you buy your plants (not only citrus!) and where are they coming from. Look for any suspicious thing on them (insects, larvae, bruises, odd coloration and such), as they could be a signs of potentially unwanted visitors.

This is the most important thing, as you might prevent the transport of Phillip and his friends, reducing the risks of unwanted situations (I mean, reeeaaalllyyy unwanted) like this one. Don’t forget: Blame Phillip.

A contribution by Angel G. Rivera-Colón, scientist, Magic: the Gathering enthusiast and all around Star Wars lover.

The Invasion may have begun; the case of Xenochrophis vittatus

We’ve gotten word through our trusty network of biologist, that a new potential invasive has been documented on the Island of Puerto Rico

This is the case of the striped keelback snake, Xenochrophis vittatus.
Wanted where invasive

This species native to Indonesia is semiaquatic and is thought to be established on the northwest of Puerto Rico. Studies and an eradication program are already underway. Please help protect our wildlife by preventing the spread of this and all invasives.

Notable features to identify this species are:

  1. bronze/ yellow color along dorsal (“back”) scales.
  2. Ventral scales( “belly”) are white with a black border.

Various colleagues are working to prevent this snake from becoming a full blown problem on the island, including the Zoology Museum of the University of Puerto Rico. You can help, if you spot this invasive while on Puerto Rico let them know!

Cuation: species is slightly venomous, may cause irritation if bitten. Do not handle. Take note of  place where it was spotted, time and date and what it was doing. 

A story of Phillip: The Asian Citrus Psyllid (Diaphorina citri)

If you’ve been reading this blog you might already know what invasive species are. Some invasives are a concern to ecosystem stability; others, as you may know, are a bit inconvenient and slightly annoying, while some others cost us $6.3 BILLION dollars in damages and lost revenue. You might think, “What single species is capable of such devastation”? Well, the answer is, this guy:

Photograph by Jeffrey Lotz, FDACS-Division of Plant Industry.

Let’s call this guy right here Phillip, the Asian Citrus Psyllid (Diaphorina citri). Phyllip is guilty of making your life pricier. Is your morning cup of OJ getting ever more expensive? Blame Phillip.

Phillip is originally found in India, the Middle East and South-East Asia.; where he would usually lay eggs and feed on a variety of citrus plants. Citrus orchards are a paradise to him. Phillip and his friends were first reported in the US in 1998, and later, by 2001, are found to have spread throughout. He was in Texas by 2005 and by 2008 he’d already reached California! He has spread super fast! This psyllid has spread in Central and South America as well, although when they were first spotted and reported is as of yet, unknown. In both cases, scientists attribute the presence of Phillip and his friends in the Americas to trade of young citrus plants and fruit from Asia.

Psyllids, like Phillip, are Hemipterans, or “true bugs”, related to aphids and whiteflies. Phillip and his Phillip-y friends, are small winged insects, about 3 to 4 millimeters (1/8 to 1/6 inches) in length. You may be fooled by his tiny size, you may think it’s not so bad. We still have limes, oranges and grapefruit, right? Here’s the problem with Phillip, he’s invasive in areas where the majority of citrus are produced in the Western Hemisphere. That’s once again, an entire side of the planet! Phillip is all over Florida, California and Brazil. This psyllid packs a punch, it is one of the top invasive species in terms of economic impact. It is perhaps the most harmful citrus pest in the world. Now, you might think “is it that really that bad that Phillip feeds on citrus plants?” Normally, in his home, no. He doesn’t kill the plant by feeding on it. The real problem is that with him, other unwanted visitors came.

A first installment by guest contributor, Angel Rivera Colón

What are invasive species anyways?

What do fishes, lizards, frogs, mammals, plant and bugs have in common? They’re all species.  To some people, species are all equal.  Well, that’s true.  But most species exist on a tiny fraction of the planet and they either stay in it because there are mountains, bodies of water, giant ravines, or simply don’t like to move around that much. Others don’t.

 

We used to be one of these species.  Generations of people would (and often still do)  stay close to where they grew up. However, with the miracle of modern transportation we are all connected. In a few hours a bus, train, boat or plane can take you far beyond the limits of your geography. As man ( and women! ) have moved they have taken their pets, crops and some unintended critters with them. This is what this blog is all about. The unintended consequences of introducing a new species into a new environment, that otherwise wouldn’t have made it there on its own. This blog is about Invasive species.