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52RE: [beemonitoring] Bombus-GroundIvy Connection?

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  • Mary Travaglini
    Dec 22, 2006
      To be certain, as someone who works in the field of invasive species, there likely will never be a way to wholesale get rid of a non-native species once it is well established, especially established for so long that some co-evolution has occurred, unless it was something we as humans desire to kill for food, fur, or fun, or a major disease gets it. Something like ground ivy, even if natural lands managers were able to eliminate it, will continue to love people's gardens and lawns. So part of my job is to never dream of elimating anything on a large scale, or think that way.
      In the long run, we should ultimately be concerned about the loss of habitat that harbor the native plants insects need, as well as protect those plants from new invasions by pests and pathogens. If the habitat is healthy enough, and native plant populations diverse enough, any insect that adapted to an intoduced plant ought to be able to readapt back to its original hosts if they are there or populations are restored.
      From my perspective, scientists only lump exotics together when they are addressing policy and public education issues, as we all agree there is no one single approach to any solution, and even policy issues each have a different approach when dealing with aquatic freshwater, aquatic marine, forest, wetland, grassland, soil and other pests, etc. Just like the CDC lumps diseases into bigger categories and then breaks down each one for solutions to the problem. We also don't treat all exotics as invasive, as they are not all invasive, so not every exotic is considered for control. You brought up apples and oranges--for instance, oranges are exotic in the US, but no one ever considers thinking of them as a problem in natural areas, and therefore would not get lumped with starlings for any sort of discussion, unless someone linked their country of origin, etc. I think you'll find there is not one "non-native" container definition among those of us addressing these issues and that the definitions out there are not quite so vague and poorly defined, but that perhaps public education is not getting out the way it should or that the issue is more complex than can be easily disseminated well--I agree that there could be a whole library on associations that have occurred through introductions, and the complexities of the issues. Not being an entemologist, my perspective is that insects are more likely to experience adaptations and evolutions faster than other species, and my biggest concern is that the rate of exotic exchange that has blossomed with global trade and travel, and habitat degredation and loss will ultimately be more of a detriment to insect diversity than anything.
      Mary Travaglini
      Potomac Gorge Habitat Restoration Manager
      The Nature Conservancy of MD/DC
      5410 Grosvenor Lane, Suite 100
      Bethesda, MD  20814
      (301) 897-8570 x235
      fax: (301) 897-0858
      "In ecological release, an organism escapes its home and parachutes into an ecosystem that has never encountered it before...a few...look around with the hopeful incredulity of juvenile delinquents who discovered the mall's security cameras are broken--and wreak havoc." Charles Mann
      -----Original Message-----
      From: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com [mailto:beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com]On Behalf Of Liz Day
      Sent: Thursday, December 21, 2006 8:06 PM
      To: beemonitoring@yahoogroups.com
      Subject: Re: [beemonitoring] Bombus-GroundIvy Connection?

      >Learning more about what "role" that native species play in the spread of
      >non-native species is important because it reframes the conversation away
      >from the highly-charged and vague, but thoroughly unscientific terminology
      >like "alien" and "invasive". By asking, what if the native Bombus prefer
      >Ground Ivy because the Ground Ivy's flower evolved to serve Bombus better,
      >we shift away from looking for a one-sized-fits- all diagnostic that
      >explains the how and why of each and every successful species
      >introduction- naturalization.
      >In the background is an unexamined bias against "non-native" species. If
      >anything points to a bias against "non-native" species it is that the
      >"non-native container" is so poorly defined and vague that anything can be
      >placed into it or removed at will.

      This assertion confuses me. Is there not usually fairly good concensus
      for most organisms of concern that they either were present in N. America
      well before European immigration, or else have been brought in by people
      since then? Perhaps I am not up to speed on this.

      There is a big difference between the question of whether something is
      native or exotic, and the question of whether an exotic organism's presence
      is desirable or detrimental or both or neither.

      >There are many apples and oranges to be sorted out, too. How shameful
      >that the science community allows the Chestnut Blight, Siberian Elm, and
      >the Starling to be lumped into a group together!
      > The most dangerous result of this "lumping" iwould be attempts to
      > fashion one-size-fits- all responses to dealing with them (ie,
      > eradication, chemicals/poisons, propaganda).

      >Consider this: Not long ago, the New England population of the Baltimore
      >Checkerspot butterfly "discovered" that Plantago lanceolata contains the
      >same chemicals needed for its larvae to develop. By adding the Plantain
      >to its menu, the New England Baltimore Checkerspot' s population is
      >expanding for the first time.
      >In contrast the Mid-Atlantic population of Baltimore Checkerspots has not
      >adopted Plantain so Maryland's state insect (which I've never seen in
      >person) continues to decline in this area along with its wetland habitat.
      >With that in mind, is wholesale and wanton eradication of the non-native
      >P. laceolata still called for?

      Is it occurring?

      >Or, does the emergent Baltimore Checkerspot- P. lanceolata ecological
      >association demonstrates how far along Plantago has integrated into the
      >environment. (By integrate I mean the constellation of ecological
      >associations formed between Plantago and other New England lifeforms since
      >it arrived.) How many micro-associations between Plantago and other
      >species have taken place which are not as easily noticed as the
      >Checkerspot- Plantago relationship?

      Surely the topic of the ecological changes caused by new species
      associations as our world is flooded with non-indigenous plants and animals
      would need a whole library of studies to cover it.

      Liz Day
      Indianapolis Indiana USA
      (where bumblebees do use ground ivy)

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