spacer Introduction
>Home Page 
>About this Guide 
>Table of Contents

1.  What you can do
2.  Water
3.  Ecology
4.  Amphibians
5.  Environmental Issues
6.  Keystone species
7.  Get Wet!-
     Field Study Ideas

8.  The Zoo Experience
9.  Frogs & Friends
10. Case Studies
11. Resources
12. Glossary

Wetland Curriculum Resource
Unit 5. Environmental Issues -

(Level: 4 : 7 : 10 acad : 10 appl : 11 appl : 12 acad :: Exotic Species)

Purpose: To recognize the impact of exotic species introduced into aquatic ecosystems.

What You Need: research material local government and community contacts

Added Info: Before this activity, students should have understanding of the difference between a native and an exotic species. Native species are those which occur naturally in a specific location. Exotic species are those which are foreign and have been introduced to a specific location. There have been numerous plant and animal species which have been introduced into Canada. These introductions have been either intentional or accidental. The effects of these introductions can be positive or negative, sometimes both. However, most introductions have negative impacts on existing organisms in the ecosystem, which result in enormous costs to control and/or minimize.

What You Do:

  1. Select an organism from the list below, and discuss the following regarding its introduction:
    1. where does it originate from
    2. where specifically was it introduced
    3. was the introduction intentional or accidental
    4. what are the positive ecological and economical benefits resulting from the introduction
    5. what are the negative ecological and economical benefits resulting from the introduction
    6. what actions are being done to control the negative impacts

    Introduced Species to Canadian Aquatic Ecosystems

    Carp - introduced in all provinces except P.E.I. and Nova Scotia
    Brown Trout - introduced in all provinces except P.E.I. and Manitoba
    Eurasian Water Milfoil - introduced into Ontario, B.C. & Quebec
    Purple Loosestrife - introduced into all provinces
    Red-eared Sliders - introduced into Ontario
    Bullfrog - introduced into British Columbia
    American Mink - introduced into Newfoundland
    Moose - introduced into Newfoundland
    Zebra Mussel - introduced into Ontario
    Ruffe - introduced into Ontario
    Spiny Water Flea - introduced into Ontario

  2. As a class, devise a list of places where research material can be obtained. Government agencies, nurseries, and nature clubs are useful.
  3. Arrange the students in small groups to work together in researching their introduced species. Their research should include both a written and oral report. Each group can present their research to the class. The oral report should include a list of the positive and negative impacts to be handed out or written on the blackboard.
  4. After each presentation, each student should be encouraged to formulate their own personal opinion on the impacts of the introduction. A discussion of each presentation should occur so students can express their opinions.
  5. Have the students make a list of laws or regulations that should govern the control of introducing exotic species into aquatic ecosystems.

For Further Information About Exotic Species:

Invading Species Hotline 1-800-563-7711

  • province-wide, in Ontario
  • sponsored by the Ontario Federation of Anglers and Hunters (OFAH), Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources (OMNR), and the Canadian Coast Guard
  • report sightings and get information about species such as Zebra Mussels, Purple Loosetrife, Ruffe, Spiny Water Flea and others

"A Field Guide to Aquatic Exotic Plants and Animals", produced by the OMNR and OFAH, available from these organizations and through the Invading Species Hotline.

Zoo Link: Introduced Species - the Cane Toad

Introduced or exotic species are a global problem. Case Study 3: The Introduction of the Cane Toad into Australia, in Unit 10 of this guide, provides a classic example of the impact that an exotic species can have on an ecosystem. One of the species affected by the Cane Toad, the White's Tree Frog, is part of the Zoo's Australasian collection.


Copyright 2013 Adopt-A-Pond - Toronto Zoo       All Rights Reserved