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Kudz-who? and Other Questions of Invasive Species


Author(s)

Parks Collins
Natural Science
Mitchell Community College
pcollins@mitchellcc.edu

Abstract

It is now well known that non-native species have the potential to be harmful to an ecosystem, but that wasn't always the case, and getting rid of non-native invasive species is usually a difficult task. This brief, interrupted case study tells the story of kudzu's introduction into the United States in the late 1800s. It also examines (and even questions) how we define words like "native" versus "non-native" and "invasive" versus "non-invasive." Students will learn how invasive species impact ecosystems and why some non-native species never become established. They also will address questions related to eradicating non-native invasive species. For example, is it okay to attempt to get rid of a non-native species with another non-native species? As part of the activity, students also will have to decide whether or not kudzu should be considered "native" since it has been in the United States since 1876. Originally designed for a general biology course for majors, the case has also been used in a biology class for non-majors as well as an environmental biology class.


Objectives

  • Identify potential ecosystem problems caused by non-native, invasive species.
  • Determine how non-native, invasive species become established in an ecosystem, including the role of humans in this process of establishment.
  • Research and discuss what it means to label a species as "invasive."

Keywords

invasive; non-native; kudzu; non-invasive; native; ecosystem; Pueraria lobate; Megacopta cribaria; kudzu bug;

Topical Areas

Regulatory issues

Educational Level

High school, Undergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division

Format

PDF, PowerPoint

Type / Methods

Analysis (Issues), Interrupted

Language

English

Subject Headings

Biology (General)  |   Ecology  |   Environmental Science  |   Botany / Plant Science  |  


Date Posted

11/17/2017

Teaching Notes

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Teaching notes are intended to help teachers select and adopt a case. They typically include a summary of the case, teaching objectives, information about the intended audience, details about how the case may be taught, and a list of references and resources.

Supplemental Materials

The optional PowerPoint presentation below includes some useful visuals to project during class.

  
  kudzu_sup.ppt (~4MB)

Answer Key

Answer keys for the cases in our collection are password-protected and access to them is limited to paid subscribed instructors. To become a paid subscriber, begin the process by registering.

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