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Species Profiles

The following terms are used in the species profiles (aquatic species, plants, animals, and microbes) to describe what type of information is contained in the resources selected.

Taxonomy: All known organisms are given a unique name as well as assigned to broader groupings. The identification, classification, and assignment of unique names for organisms is called taxonomy. The term is used here when the information on the organism's family groups and scientific names are described. Most of the time the taxonomic name will include the genus and species names. In most cases, the genus name is Greek and the species term is a Latin descriptive word. Some of the names may include a variant name as well.

Identification/Description: These terms are assigned when the cited source includes information such as common names; what the species looks like; distinguishing characteristics of the organism; what to look for to determine that it is not a similar native species. A description of where it lives might be included (e.g., a fresh water pond or stream, in disturbed land and waste places, pieces of wood, food products, etc.).

Photographs: Photographs might be of the organism itself, the organism in its natural environment, a fresh or preserved specimens.

Illustrations: There may be line drawings, paintings or other types of illustrations as part of the Web site's information. The whole organism may be illustrated, or smaller or microscopic parts may be present in drawings to help give an accurate rendering of the specimen.

Introduction History: An "introduction history" can explain how an invasive organism arrived in the U.S. Information can include suspected date(s) of arrival, the route of introduction, geographic location(s) that are relevant, whether there were climate events that determined its survival.

Impacts: This term is used when the information answers questions about the invader's impact in a new location. What does this organism do as an invader? What aspects of life in the U.S. have been affected by it? Is it like the West Nile virus that makes humans or animals sock, or like the Dutch elm disease that has changed the landscape by killing the native elm trees? Is it a new crop pest that farmers need to worry about? Does it render U.S. plants or animals noncompetitive on the world markets? Does it clog pipes like the zebra mussels, crowd out native bird species like the starling, totally change habitats and ecosystems as does the exotic plant, kudzu? Do you have to worry about it being in your backyard? How much will the negative impacts cost?

Life Cycle: Life cycle is a term used to describe the continuous sequences of growth and changes that an organism undergoes from the beginning of its life through its reproduction, then death. Information may include the unique physiology, optimal growth conditions, changes in appearances or life forms as it moves through the cycle, changing environmental needs, etc.

Habitat: The environment that is natural for a plant or animal to live in is called its habitat. Some animals live in rapidly flowing fresh water and others prefer salt water. For example, some insects live their lives in several places through its life cycle. A mosquito larval form lives in water, the adult is a flying insect that seeks a blood meal from the animals it bites in cities on the seashore, or in the woods. Plants may like a cool moist place, or a dry hot location.

Distribution: What are the locations where this organism may be found? It could be shown on a world wide scale, or down to the state, county or even city, or parts of an animal's body. Descriptions are given of the environments where it may be found and at what levels of population. Is it crowding out species all over the U.S., or is it limited to small areas with unique features? Is it moving slowly or quickly? Is it likely to be limited by a land form or a temperature gradient?

Dispersion: This term is used if the information contains data showing how an organism moves from one location to another. This could be an active or passive process. They may actively "hitch a ride" with another creature, or they may passively and unwittingly be carried by planes, cars, boats or trailers, insects who have an organism in or on their bodies and pass it onto others, animals and humans that move disease organisms, etc. Climatic events such as winds, storms, running water, tides, etc. may move an organism from one place to another.

Controls: If ways of controlling an invasive are listed, this term is applied. There may be many various ways to control an invasive. Control may be as simple as pulling out weed species and destroying the plants, rounding up and removing a fish or animal, application of chemicals to kill or incapacitate a species, identifying and releasing a biological control organism that eats or prey on an invasive. Several methods may be used. The method of choice can very according to the location where the control measure is to be applied. Sometimes controls are very difficult and/or expensive. Careful timing and monitoring of control efforts are usually essential for success.

Research: Federal and state government, academic or other organizations may have produced research reports or articles about various aspects of a species. This term is applied if there are full text records of such research reports relating to the profiled species.

Legal Aspects: If the site includes information on federal, state, international, or local jurisdictional laws or regulations pertaining to the species, then this term is applied.

Special Note: If there is information that does not fall under the above terminology, but is considered important for the reader to know, then it is described in a "special note" with additional terms added to indicate the nature of the information.

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Last Modified: May 18, 2016
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