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Science Warriors: The Battle Against Invasive Species

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There are 6,200 known invasive species in the United States, and scientists are scrambling to stop their unique paths of destruction, which can take a huge toll on regional economies and ecosystems. To effectively combat an invader, scientists must know the organism inside and out: What does it eat? How does it reproduce? What was its environment like in its native home? There are many questions, but just one right answer might yield a weakness in the enemy. In this entry in the Scientists in the Field series, ...

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Overview

There are 6,200 known invasive species in the United States, and scientists are scrambling to stop their unique paths of destruction, which can take a huge toll on regional economies and ecosystems. To effectively combat an invader, scientists must know the organism inside and out: What does it eat? How does it reproduce? What was its environment like in its native home? There are many questions, but just one right answer might yield a weakness in the enemy. In this entry in the Scientists in the Field series, Sneed B. Collard III introduces readers to some of the most brilliant minds, and promising advances, in the war against invasive species.

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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
"This title is thoroughly researched and clearly written, and it provides suggestions for reader action and further investigation on the Internet."—Publishers Weekly

"The ants steal the show: super-close-up photos capture their swarming, maps sketch out their infestation, and a subsection details how the phorid fly actually emerges from the head of an ant. It's plenty gross and very exciting, but Collard makes sure readers realize it is not a laughing matter: invasive species cost us $137 billion annually, all the more reason for the back matter describing how readers can help the cause."—Booklist

"[Collard] shows how these endeavors just scratch the surface of a global problem and describes attempts by scientists and the government to try to prevent the transfer of species. The clear and helpful color photographs portray the scientists at work in field and laboratory settings, as well as the featured plants and animals. The final pages include steps readers can take to help fight invasive species and a call for more public funding to fight invaders."—Horn Book

Children's Literature - Sylvia Firth
This successful author of more than fifty books about various fields of science has written a book to heighten awareness of the many dangers to our earth from invasive species of plants and animals. The four covered are zebra mussels, brown tree snakes, red fire ants, and melaleuca trees. None of these are native to the United States. They have been brought here on ships (zebra mussels); in rock and soil ballast (red fire ants); or on purpose from Australia (melaleuca) to be used in landscaping. The brown tree snake is native to Guam and so far a campaign to keep it from other islands in the Pacific seems to be succeeding. Progress has also occurred with controlling fire ants using small insects called phorid flies. Since 2002, two insects, the melaleuca leaf weevil and the melaleuca psyllid, have shown great promise as a means to control and hopefully eradicate the melaleuca. Unfortunately, it is much more difficult to control the zebra mussel and work now focuses on controlling its spread to other rivers, lakes, and waterways. Tips for individuals to stop the spread of non-native species are included at the end of the book. So are websites that are a source for more information. Adding greatly to the book's usefulness are the clear and relevant photographs. Science teachers are certain to find this title very helpful, so purchase is recommended. Reviewer: Sylvia Firth
School Library Journal

Gr 5-8

This photo-filled book explores the work of American scientists battling invasive species. Focusing on brown tree snakes, melaleuca trees, red imported fire ants, and zebra mussels, Collard explores how teams of scientists have made inroads against the destruction of habitat by these invaders. Large, sharp photos, maps, and sidebars punctuate information about how the pests arrived, the extent of their damage, and the work that has been done to eradicate them. The chapter on fire ants is notable for its delightfully ghoulish solution of introducing flies that lay their eggs in the ants so that their offspring can eat the ants alive from the inside out. Although all of the lead scientists on these projects happen to be men, care has been made to include photos of women involved in the work. There is no table of contents, but the fine glossary, list of Web sites, and index will aid researchers.-Ellen Heath, Easton Area Public Library, Easton, PA

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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780618756360
  • Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
  • Publication date: 10/27/2008
  • Series: Scientists in the Field
  • Edition description: None
  • Pages: 48
  • Age range: 10 - 12 Years
  • Lexile: 1110L (what's this?)
  • Product dimensions: 9.10 (w) x 11.20 (h) x 0.60 (d)

Meet the Author

Sneed B. Collard III has written more than fifty books for young people. In 2006, he received the Washington Post-Children's Book Guild Nonfiction Award for his body of work. He lives with his family in Montana.To learn more about Sneed B. Collard III, visit www.sneedbcollardiii.com.

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