Fifth grade students study invasive species

By Brooke Hoppe

We have been working with Herring Gut Learning Center for about a week and a half, and we have been learning about invasive species. We have gone to Drift Inn Beach and Herring Gut Learning Center—and Herring Gut has also come to our classroom.

When we went to Drift Inn, we found green crabs, periwinkles, tunicates and sea potatoes. Did you know all four of these species are invasive? An invasive species is an animal, plant or fungus that goes to a specific location that it isn’t native to and invades it.

We have been using a website called Vital Signs (www.vitalsignsme.org). Vital Signs is a website where anyone can post pictures of a species you find and describe. Then you show when you found it and where you found it. Also, once you post it, scientists can confirm it if they think the information is true.

Green crabs are very invasive to Maine, and they are ruining business for clammers. One green crab can eat 40 half-inch clams a day! In 2016 clam landings fell 21 percent, from 9.3 million to 7.3 million pounds. That is the lowest total since 1991.

To help the problem, you could capture them and post it on Vital Signs to see if they are an invasive species, or you could eat them. You could even put them in your lobster traps and use them for bait.

Please spread the word about green crabs and the rest of the invasive species.

—Brooke Hoppe (Hoppe is a 5th grade student at the St. George School. She notes that she got some of the information in this piece from the Portland Press Herald.)

PHOTO: Amy Palmer

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