Explore the Evidence

Explore Southwest Florida

Gopher Tortoise (15)

Native Species

A NATIVE SPECIES is a species found naturally in a given place. Take a look at the video below to learn a little more about some NATIVE SPECIES in our own backyard. 

Exotic

Exotic Species

An EXOTIC SPECIES is a species that comes from somewhere else and is able to survive in a new place. Exotic species are not always harmful to their new environment.

Burmese Python Project (29)

Invasive Species

INVASIVE SPECIES are exotic species that are harmful to their new environment. Most of the time, they are harmful to native species. Take a look at the video below to learn a little more about the INVASIVE SPECIES in Florida. 

How do animal populations change?

It doesn't matter if we are talking microscopic bacteria or Florida panthers - all populations grow and decline in similar ways. They are DIRECTLY added to and taken away from by just a few things:

REPRODUCTION:

  • BIRTHS
  • DEATHS

MOVEMENT:

  • ANIMALS MOVING INTO AN AREA (IMMIGRATION)
  • ANIMALS MOVING OUT OF AN AREA (EMIGRATION)

Take a look at the SIMULATED MODEL linked below that demonstrates population change for a Black racer, which is a native Florida snake species.

  1. Click the "Simulate" button at the top right of the page.
  2. Play with the sliders on the side of the model variables and see what happens to the number of black racers in the ecosystem. Reflect on what you learned from the simulation in your journal.

BLACK RACER SIMULATION

Reflect in your Science Journal:

Some other NATIVE plants or animals that I see in Florida are...

Some other EXOTIC plants or animals I see in Florida are...

Some other INVASIVE plants or animals I see in Florida are...

When I increase the amount of hatching Black racers, the Number of Black Racers will...

In order to decrease the Number of Black Racers, the relationship between snakes added and snakes taken away has to be...

Some of the questions I still have about how populations of NATIVES, EXOTICS, and INVASIVES change are...