Plants, animals, and any living thing can move from their places of origin to another place. For example, some can be moved by wind: tiny seeds of plants can be blown away, little spiders can float in the air, and even small birds are carried away during windstorms. Some can float, like tortoises or certain seeds. Sometimes, part of the river vegetation can break away and form a small raft allowing some small organisms to float around. These are some of the natural ways by which plants and animals can move about. Such movements are not very common, especially for long distances. Even rarer would be that those that managed to move are able to survive and start a new population in the new place.
However, there is one species that can move many other species from one place to another. This species is us. It can be a good strategy, enabling us to bring our food to new and unknown places. As a species, we were not very mobile until a few centuries ago. Today, we can cross half of the globe in less than a day – and we bring all kinds of living things with us.
Many of the species that we have been carrying with us during our journeys do not cause any major harm. But some of them have serious impacts on the resident species (the ones that were living in the place before – if you have time check this nice animation at https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HAY_UsGjyZk). We also accidentally transport species that are agricultural pests or diseases that affect ourselves, for example. Depending where you are in the world, you may call these species that we are moving around as non-natives, weeds, exotics, aliens. To be sure, the problems caused by some of these species that we have moved to new places are on the increase, as well as the billions of dollars to avoid the loss of thousands of human lives or the extinction of thousands of species because of the direct or indirect effects of invasive species.
Follow this blog to find more about non-native or alien species – a few of us are working with them. Let us know if you would us to discuss a specific subject of your interest. In the meantime you could sing with Sting… (English Man in New York).