EXHIBITS: Trouble in Paradise

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Science  15 Feb 2002:
Vol. 295, Issue 5558, pp. 1199
DOI: 10.1126/science.295.5558.1199d

Like so many other visitors to Hawaii, Jackson's chameleon, a lizard native to East Africa, couldn't bid the islands aloha. A population that began as a few released pets in an Oahu yard in the 1970s has spread to four islands. Although invasive species such as this lizard are roiling ecosystems the world over, the problem is dire in Hawaii. Invaders jeopardize many of the unique species that evolved during the archipelago's eons of isolation and are costing the state millions of dollars in damage to forests, crops, and buildings. Find out more at Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk, a U.S. Geological Survey clearinghouse of information on animal, plant, and microbiological interlopers.

Aimed mainly at resource managers and the public, the site offers a partial catalog of the state's damaging immigrants, with resources such as distribution maps, fact sheets, images, and links to organizations battling invasive species. For some economically important species—such as the pushy Argentine ant and the fast-spreading pampas grass—you can read detailed reports that cover biology, history of colonization, ecological and economic impact, and control measures.



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