The Effects of Foreign Species Introduction on an Ecosystem

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  • Topic: Invasive species, Ecology, Zebra mussel
  • Pages : 2 (654 words )
  • Download(s) : 527
  • Published : October 8, 1999
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The Effects of Foreign Species Introduction On An Ecosystem

The effects of foreign species introduction into an ecosystem are very profound. From small microorganisms to species of large mammals, many foreign species introductions occur every day. New implications of their introduction are found just as often.

When a foreign species is introduced into an ecosystem, often the ecosystem contains no natural predators for the new species. This lack of predators sometimes leads to; in conjunction with a supply of food suitable for the new species, a period of exponential growth of the species. This growth and severe increase in the size of the population can cause a shortage of food for native species. When this occurs, the native species disappear and the biodiversity in the ecosystem is reduced. The carrying capacity is also reduced because the ecosystem will not be capable of supporting the same amount of life. If one species hogs the food and does not contribute itself to the food chain, the balance is disrupted and there will be less available for the native species. Once the new species has found its ecological niche however, balance begins to restore itself.

When the biodiversity in the ecosystem is reduced, the ability of the ecosystem to grow, or the biotic potential, is as well reduced. More species residing in an ecosystem which depend on each other allows for a greater chance of survival and perpetuation. This may occur for several reasons, for example a bee and a flower. The bee requires the pollen of the flower to make its honey. However, while gathering the pollen from the flowers, it transfers some of the pollen to female flowers, allowing them to make seeds and spawn further generations. However, a foreign species may, for example, eat the bees therefore allowing for decreased fecundity of the flowers.

Another implication of the introduction of foreign species into an ecosystem is the potential for toxins to be spread up the...
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