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Invasive Species

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6-8, 9-12 Hudson River Ecology

Invasive species pose a serious risk to ecosystem health and stability around the world and locally. Why should we be concerned about invasive species? How do they change local plant and animal communities? How do they change the chemistry of a water body like the Hudson River?   Students will learn how and why invasive species have such large ecosystem impacts and how they have changed the Hudson River. This unit includes a more in-depth investigation of three species: zebra mussels, water chestnut, and common reed.  As students will discover, all of these introduced species have changed the ecosystems around us in potentially positive and negative ways.  The concluding research report provides an opportunity for students to explore other local invasive species.

  • Grades: 6-8, 9-12

    Students will investigate whether there are more native or invasive plants and how herbivory affects both types of plants in their schoolyard.   

  • Grades: 6-8, 9-12

    Students will know the relationship between light and dissolved oxygen and be able to predict what will happen when a plant does not receive enough light. Students will know what happens to an aquatic ecosystem when a floating macrophyte is introduced as an invasive species, and be able to design an experiment to test their hypothesis.

  • Grades: 6-8, 9-12

    Students will know that aquatic communities change composition based on vegetation types and be able to explain the differences.

  • Grades: 9-12

    Students will know how to design an experiment to test how a pond ecosystem changes over time due to an invasive mollusk and be able to develop a testable hypothesis, create the experimental set-up, collect data, and carry out the experiment.

  • Grades: 6-8, 9-12

    Students will know that aquatic communities change composition based on vegetation types and be able to explain the differences.

  • Grades: 9-12

    Students will know how a water chestnut bed impacts dissolved oxygen levels across space and through time and will be able to use graphs to explain these changes.

  • Grades: 9-12

    Students will understand how the invasive water chestnut plant impacts the Hudson River differently from the native water celery plant and be able to explain these impacts based on a series of graphs.

  • Grades: 9-12

    Students will know how an invasive species has changed the Hudson River food web and be able to explain the impact of the zebra mussel on the food web over time.

  • Grades: 6-8, 9-12

    Students will know that removing an invasive plant can have a variety of impacts and be able to explain some of these impacts using evidence.

  • Grades: 6-8, 9-12

    Students will know why we call some species invasive and be able to discuss several traits that are common among many invasive species and be able to explain the effects of at least one invasive species on ecosystems in the Hudson Valley. 

  • Grades: 6-8, 9-12

    Students will know what lives in the Hudson River, and will be able to create a food web drawing to represent the organisms living in the river. They will also know that the Hudson River food web is changing in response to the zebra mussel invasion, and will be able to make predictions about how native organisms will be affected by this invasion.  

  • Grades: 6-8, 9-12

    Students will know how the zebra mussel invasion affected the food web of the Hudson River and be able to explain at least two connections within the food web that were affected using evidence from provided graphs.

  • Grades: 6-8, 9-12

    Students will know how the zebra mussel has changed the Hudson River ecosystem and be able to explain how a biotic change affects the abiotic conditions in the Hudson River.

  • Grades: 6-8, 9-12

    Students will know how the zebra mussel invasion has changed the Hudson River and be able to use graphed data to explain the history of these changes.