Wednesday, 15 August 2012

Science Teachers Guilty of Releasing Invasive Species - via Matt Salusbury

New research finds that one out of four science educators in the U.S. and Canada released lab animals into the wild after they were done using them in the classroom, introducing a surprising but potentially serious pathway for invasives to take hold in new locales. Zebra mussels, Asian carp, kudzu, pythons — invasive species wreck havoc on native animals and plants, regional economies and overall environmental functioning.

Researchers presented their work on the subject at the Ecological Society of America conference and commented in a press release:

“Live organisms are a critical element for learning and we don’t want to imply that they should not be used in the classroom,” said Sam Chan, an Oregon State University invasive species expert and a principal investigator on the study. “But some of our schools – and the biological supply houses that provide their organisms – are creating a potential new pathway for non-native species to become invasive."

To arrive at these findings, the researchers surveyed nearly 2,000 teachers in Florida, New York, Indiana, Illinois, Oregon, Washington, California, Connecticut, British Columbia and Ontario. They also spoke with biological supply house owners and managers.


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