Invasive Species Ecology
After habitat loss, the impact of invasive species is the next most important threat to natural and managed ecosystems. In this course, the student will learn a brief history on the discipline of invasion ecology including the writing by Charles Elton and other workers who provided the foundation of the discipline.
The invasion process includes the transport, establishment, spread and impact of an organism. In addition, the course will cover different approaches to the study of invasive species including models of spread, risk assessment, impact measurement; and to manage invasive species including regulation, prevention, eradication, and control. Each class will be composed of a short lecture covering the theory, study cases, and in-class problem-solving exercises. Guest speakers working on invasive species in Louisiana will be invited to cover specific topics and provide experiences and different perspectives. Having a solid understanding on the process of a biological invasion will help students in the development of effective management programs.
The course will consist of two 1.5-hour lectures and/or discussion per week. Lectures will provide the fundamental concepts of each topic outlined below. Guest lectures will provide examples of invasive species and their management in Louisiana. Discussions will be summaries of key papers on invasion biology and will be led by students.
Lago Las Curias in San Juan completely invaded by giant salvinia. Picture: Tito Castro, University of Puerto Rico