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Invasive & Problem Species of GTM Research Reserve Quick Topics

Exotic species are those wild or feral plants or animals that are not native to Florida, but were introduced as a result of human-related activities. Exotic species typically have fewer natural enemies and may harbor diseases or parasites that may significantly affect non-resistant native species. This may give them a higher survival rate than native species or make them a threat to the natural communities. They are considered invasive species.

The best strategy to protect GTM Research Reserve's natural resources from invasive species is prevention. Many are introduced as escaped pets or are carried on boats or in ballast water. The threats caused by invasive species and prevention strategies must be included in educational materials to alert the public of the severity of the problem and promote voluntary action. In addition, stewardship and research strategies are needed to quickly assess new invasions and their impact.

A majority of the past focus at GTM Research Reserve has been on terrestrial exotic species, but estuarine, oceanic and freshwater exotics are equally damaging. Recent invasions by Asian green mussels and titan acorn barnacles have been documented.

Asian green mussel

Asian green mussel

Problem species are native species that cause management problems or concerns. Occasionally, a problem species can also be a listed species, such as alligators. Raccoons are problem species in the picnic grounds and trash collection points. Visitors will continue to be educated about the consequences of feeding wildlife.

Outbreaks of mosquitoes and other biting flies are also perceived as a problem by visitors. The marshes and freshwater wetlands are natural breeding sites for mosquitoes. GTM Research Reserve is partnering with Anastasia Mosquito Control District to study better mosquito control while minimizing damage to GTM Research Reserve's natural biodiversity.

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Last updated: April 04, 2011

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