December 1, 2016
Wildlife vs. Plant Invaders
- as seen by -Michelle Medina
The Bronx River, New York City’s only freshwater river, runs through the Wildlife Conservation Society’s Bronx Zoo. Even in this city setting, the Bronx River is not immune to the rampant influx of Japanese knotweed. It is one of the most prolific non-native plants to invade the river and stream banks of eastern and northwest North America, as well as parts of Europe and the United Kingdom.
For my master’s class project, I installed two camera traps along the Bronx River to investigate whether Japanese knotweed would affect the presence of urban wildlife. One camera was placed near a large stand of Japanese knotweed; a second camera was set up at a site without knotweed. The camera traps were deployed for 42 days and collected over 10,000 images. From the data obtained from the images, I concluded that there was statistically less biodiversity of birds near the Japanese knotweed.
The usual suspects including raccoons, chipmunks, and squirrels made appearances in my camera trap images. However, one image offered a surprise. Above, is a photo of a young Cooper’s hawk, which I was excited to find visiting the area.
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