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King Creativity at Southwestern

Snakes, Snails, and Yuppy Naturalist Tails: A video documentary of the response to biological invasion in Texas and Florida

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Matt Trawick, Brandon O’Conner, Olivia Stanzer, Jessilyn Massey, Allyson Plantz, and Ryan Saurage
Faculty Advisor: Romi Burks

Second only to direct habitat destruction, exotic invasive species represent the biggest threat to native biodiversity. Humans have transported some species from one region to another unintentionally, but a substantial portion of invasive species were transported intentionally. Our project seeks to understand the relationship between scientific interest in invasive species and public awareness of invasive species through a documentary film entitled “Snakes, Snails, and Yuppy Naturalist tales: The response to biological invasion in Florida and Texas.” We have two major goals. The first is to assess the levels of scientific interest in both Florida and Texas by speaking with experts in the field of invasive species biology in both states. The second is to see if increased interest in the scientific community translates into increased public awareness. We intend to accomplish this second goal by interviewing visitors to naturalist centers in both Florida and Texas, as well as members of the general public outside of natural areas. We will show this video documentary in a screening at Southwestern University, as well as making it available on our lab website and on YouTube. Hopefully, this documentary will increase public awareness of the threats posed by invasive species and help eliminate the introduction of these species into new areas.