Sunday, June 8, 2014

My Year of Darwin 6/8/2014: Trouble in paradise: invasive species in the Pacific Islands

 Charles Darwin
"It is said that the common Norway rat, in the short space of two years, annihilated in this northern end of the island the New Zealand species. In many places I noticed several sorts of weeds, which, like the rats, I was forced to own as countrymen. A leek has overrun whole districts, and will prove very troublesome, bit it was imported as a favour by a French vessel. The common dock is also widely disseminated, and will, I fear, for ever remain a proof of the rascality of an Englishman who sold the seeds for those of the tobacco plant." Charles Darwin, Voyage of the Beagle.

Biotic homogenization is the loss of endemics and the spread of invasive species. I liken it to American cites - seems like every American city has a McDonalds, a Lowe's (with a Home Depot nearby), a Taco Bell, a Walmart, and so on. Likewise, most world cities have pigeons, House Sparrows, Norway rats, the House Mouse, cockroaches, etc. Surprising, given the economic costs of invasive species, that countries haven't sought compensation from the "donor" country. 

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