New York's Great Lakes: Ecosystem Education Exchange
Aquatic Invasive Species

Sections on this page: Aquatic Invasive Species ResourcesAquatic Invasive Species Activities 

Aquatic Invasive Species Resources  back to top

Aquatic Invasive species in New York State 
As per Executive Order 13112 an "invasive species" is defined as a species that is: 1) non-native (or alien) to the ecosystem under consideration and. 2) whose introduction causes or is likely to cause economic or environmental harm or harm to human health. 

Common Aquatic Invaders of New York
This webpage contains some of the more common aquatic invasive species found in New York, the areas of the state they currently inhabit, and the control strategy recommended to ensure that they are not spread to new waters via boating and fishing equipment.

Deep Lake Explorer
Explore the bottom of the Great Lakes and help us understand the impacts of invasive species.

Making Waves: Battle for the Great Lakes documentary 
The two-hour documentary, Making Waves: Battle for the Great Lakes, takes viewers below the surface of the world’s largest freshwater ecosystem and into the middle of a complex war for survival. Narrated by Bill Kurtis, Making Waves traces the path of the invasion and joins researchers on the front lines as they combat invasives and work to restore native species, in an effort to prevent a biological takeover of the Great Lakes. Meet the creators of Making Waves.

New York Invasive Species Information 
New York Invasive Species Information (NYIS.INFO) is your gateway to science-based information, breaking news and events, and innovative tools for coping with biological invaders in New York. NYIS.INFO links scientists, local, state and federal resource managers, policy setters, educators, and grassroots efforts to help you become part of the battle against invasive species in New York.

NY Sea Grant Aquatic Invasive Species Web site
This site contains educational materials available from New York Sea Grant. Also available on this site are informational materials pertaining in a more general way to invasive  species introduction, control and management, policies, and research. Information on this site is applicable to Great Lakes, inland, and marine resource users and decision makers. 

USDA Aquatic Species Educational Resources
Contains links to educational tools useful for teaching K-12 students for invasive aquatic species, organized by type of organization.


Aquatic Invasive Species Activities  back to top

Beat the Barriers
Activity: This board game teaches students about the various methods used to limit the sea lamprey population in the Great Lakes. Students assume the identity of sea lampreys and attempt to migrate from Lake Ontario to Lake Superior.

Beware! Invaders! 
This activity offers a song to supplement and reinforce lessons about exotic species. Based on the approach that students learn in different ways, this song may help students retain information, especially those students who are right-brain oriented. 

Don’t Stop for Hitchhikers! 
Students rose-play the part of lake inhabitants and the aquatic exotics who displace the native species. Props are used to help demonstrate how aquatic exotic species enter a lake or river system, the negative effect they have on the native species, and things people and do to stop the spread of exotic species. 

Great Lakes Grief 
Students create aa flyer in newspaper format for distribution at local supermarkets. With this activity’s focus on environmental concerns, it gives the students the opportunity to experience a community action and awareness campaign. 

Great Lakes Grief Informational Newspaper Assignment 
As part of the newly created “Great Lakes Sea Grant League” educational campaign, each person in the class will publish a mini-newspaper about a specific invading exotic species.

Great Lakes Most Unwanted 
Activity: Students work in small groups to organize invasive species cards, featuring facts and photos. Each group presents a different invasive species in a poster or fact sheet to the class.

Invader Species of the Great Lakes 
Students do card matching activity to learn about exotic species. In groups students select an exotic species, create a poster or fact sheet, and develop a charade-like game to demonstrate ways to prevent exotic species from spreading. 

Rival for Survival
This game presents real-life choices involving exotic species found in the Great Lakes, such as zebra mussels and purple loosestrife. Students are to analyze a situation related to ecology and make an environmentally sound decision. After playing the game, students organize what they learned into a concept map. 

Rival for Survival Game Board 
This game presents real-life choices involving exotic species found in the Great Lakes, such as zebra mussels and purple loosestrife. Students are to analyze a situation related to ecology and make an environmentally sound decision. After playing the game, students organize what they learned into a concept map.

Ruffe Musical Chairs 
Activity: Students use role-play to mimic the behavior of an invasive, non-native fish called Eurasian ruffe (pronounced rough) to experience firsthand how and why the species has multiplied so rapidly in some Great Lakes harbors.

Seeing Purple: A Population Explosion
Through a simulation, sampling, and estimation activity, students learn about the impact of purple loosestrife on a wetland due to its exponential growth. They learn about purple loosestrife’s life cycle and appreciate how scientists determine population size in an ecosystem.

Seeing Purple: How Much Is Two Million Seeds? 
Worksheet and Answer Key

Who are the Exotic Invaders? 
Students learn about exotic species then instruct kindergarten students, Students prepare games and a mural to use with the younger students. Although written as a cooperative lesson for kindergarten and sixth grade, any combination of primary and upper elementary could use this activity. 

New York Sea Grant Home *  NYS Department of Environmental Conservation Home

This website was developed with funding from the Environmental Protection Fund, in support of the Ocean and Great Lakes Ecosystem Conservation Act of 2006. 

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