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The Impact of the Rapid Expansion of Purple Loosestrife on Native Species

An invasive species is an organism that causes ecological or economic harm in a new environment where it is not native. In our research we looked at the invasive species purple loosestrife and the native species broad-leaved cattail. Our methods included researching on our own using scientific research sources, we then used these sources to create an annotated bibliography. We took information from all of our research to create a hypothesis: if in areas where both species are present there will be a larger population distribution of purple loosestrife. Then we took citizen data from iDigBio and GBIF, which are location tracking apps, to see the distributions of each of our species. Next, we combined the data and mapped it out on QGIS. We used our combined data to also create a google sheet which we used to create a scatter plot and a range of best fit from the cleaned data of both species. Lastly, we put all our data into VassarStats to find the rate of expansion for each of our species. The results we found did not support our hypothesis. Our research has shown that in areas where both are present, purple loosestrife has a large population distribution and is expanding at a fast rate. Our findings highlight the impact of invasive species on native ecosystems and the importance of monitoring their populations.

Grace Emmons '26, Melody Latshaw '26, Madison Boyer '25, Dianyeliz Ozuna '26   
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