The word "photoautotroph" can be broken up into three parts. Photo means light, auto means self, and troph means nourishment. By putting these words together, you can infer that a photoautotroph is an organism that makes light into nourishment. This is the process of photosynthesis, which literally means that the organism uses sunlight energy, carbon dioxide, and water to create organic materials which are used for cellular function (Wikipedia). Plants are an example of this kind of organism.
A current scientific topic in regard to photoautotrophs is the topic of non-native invasive plants. When a plant is non-native, or exotic, it means that it is not originally from the United States. They are often brought to an area by accident, possibly for agricultural or horticultural purposes. An invasive plant is one that is established, then expand and reproduce on their own (Forest Management). This means that they have the ability to compete with native species and other native plant communities.
Non-native invasive species affect natural ecosystems negatively by completely taking over all other plants. This can unbalance the ecosystem and harm animals as well as nearby plants. They can also spread exotic diseases to other plant life. 46% of the federally listed threatened and endangered species of plants in the United States are considered to be endangered due to the impacts of exotic species (Forest Management). Invasive plants can cover the surface of water bodies so that fish either die or are driven from an area. Humans can even be harmed by dangerous areas of invasive plants. This shows why up to $5 trillion may be spent annually to manage and control the effects of these (Forest Management). Non-native invasive plants are the cause of many ecosystem catastrophes.
A specific example of a ecological disaster was when the melaleuca tree was brought to Florida from Australia. Land managers hoped that the trees would intake the excess...
Cited: "Invasive Non-Native Plants." Forest Management. 1998. 10 Nov. 2007
"Invasive Non-Native Plants." Plant Management. 2005. 10 Nov. 2007
"Invasive Non-Native Species." Eco-Pros. 1999. 10 Nov. 2007
"Phototroph." Wikipedia. 10 Nov. 2007 .
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