Current Environmental Concern

The following questions were selected from the 2002 Canon Envirothon competition hosted in Massachusetts. The current environmental issue test is based on the 2002 issue: "Introduced Species and their Effect on Biodiversity."

Imagine that you have been hired by the Commonwealth of Massachusetts as a Natural Resource Specialist whose job is to focus on the impacts of Introduced Species and Biodiversity in the Commonwealth. Your job is to inform and educate a variety of different audiences about threats to the state's biodiversity covering a host of species - from insects, plants, all types of animals, trees, and more. We hope this exam will help you understand some of the challenges this topic presents to our environment!

  1. Your new supervisor asks you to identify factors that threaten biodiversity in any area. She asks you to incorporate that information into public presentations or brochures you produce for the agency. What 3 factors would you put into your presentation/brochure?
  2. As you begin to plan a presentation, you realize that many people may not be familiar with the term "biodiversity." Biodiversity or biological diversity is a complex concept involving the totality of all living things, their relationships to one another and the environmental processes that maintain them. Scientists, natural resource managers and policy managers look at the concept of biodiversity on several levels. Species diversity is the most commonly understood and known level of biodiversity. Name 2 other types of biodiversity levels.
  3. List 3 ways a non-native species could be introduced to a new habitat.
  4. A caller is complaining about starlings nesting in a box he put up for a native cavity nester. He would like to know what he can do about this situation. You tell him that since starlings are not protected by U.S. or Massachusetts' laws, he has several options available to try. What are 3 actions or controls can you suggest to the caller?
  5. The European starling was first introduced to the U.S. in the 1800's in New York. This bird is a cavity nester and has ousted native cavity nesting birds from potential nesting sites throughout North America. Identify the native cavity nesting birds which suffer from competition with Starlings.

Questions 6 & 7

One of your co-workers specializes in freshwater clams and mussels. She is concerned that the zebra mussel, a highly invasive exotic, will make its way into Massachusetts. The two of you formulate a plan designed to promote actions that can be taken by various groups of people to help prevent the spread of this aggressive species.

  1. In order to focus your campaign, which 2 groups should you target that would most likely come into contact with the mussels and inadvertently introduce them into the state?
  2. Identify 2 management options that help prevent the spread of the zebra mussel.
  3. The president of the local garden club calls and asks you to speak about invasive species at the club's next meeting. As you prepare you presentation, what 3 actions might you recommend to home gardeners to prevent or otherwise eliminate potential problems with invasive species in their landscaping?

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