Alien species live all around us. Alien (or introduced) species are not big green monsters from outer space—they’re plants, animals and micro-organisms that came here from somewhere else, usually with human help! In BC, there are more than 4,000 alien species that have made their way here with human help, including most of the plants and animals that we eat.
Ecosystems are complex interactions between many different species and their environments. The removal or addition of a single species can impact many other organisms. Think of food webs: removing one link can change the lives of every other species connected to it. If an alien species is invasive, it will quickly take over new areas, changing the environment and our communities. Not all alien species are trouble, though. Some are unable to thrive here, while others adapt and fit in with little or no obvious impact.
In this pathway, we’ll take a closer look at some of the alien species that live here in British Columbia. Find out how these alien birds, fish, reptiles, mammals, insects, marine invertebrates and plants got here and how to identify some of them.
What alien species live in your neighbourhood? What can you do to limit their impact?