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Invasion Biology

Humans often introduce new species accidentally or on purpose as they travel and ship their stuff around the globe. Increased connectivity due to trade and international travel lead to an increase in invasions. As the hub of the Americas, Panama is a prime spot to study these phenomena. Invasive grasses in the Panama Canal Watershed cover large deforested areas and limit forest regeneration. Asia’s lionfish, a voracious predator with no known enemies outside its native range, is now a common reef fish in the Caribbean. An invasive snail brought exotic parasites to the freshwater systems of central Panama. These out-of-place species provide scientists an opportunity to understand how ecosystems cope with uninvited guests.

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