Biodiversity and Invasive Species: A Garlic Mustard Case Study

Students will explore the impact of invasive species on biodiversity specifically by looking at garlic mustard. Students will draw a scientific drawing of the plant, play a game to understand how it moves through ecosystems, discover plans on how to eradicate it, and contribute to citizen science.

Program Details

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Biodiversity and Invasive Species: A Garlic Mustard Case Study


• Writing Tools • Scientific Drawings of Plants .pdf • Instructions for Garlic Mustard Tag Game .pdf • Invasive Species (Garlic Mustard) .ppt • Global Garlic Mustard Field Study .pdf

Invasive Species as a Threat to Biodiversity

  1. Teacher leads a class discussion regarding how invasive species harm biodiversity.
  2. Teachers starts by discussing invasive species in general and then eventually focuses the discussion on garlic mustard. 
  3. Students can draw garlic mustard or another invasive species (of their choice) to become familiar with its characteristics and identification. (For instructions refer back to activity in Scientific Drawings of Plants worksheet and Steps to Make a Scientific Drawing.)
  4. Students play the garlic mustard invasive species simulation tag game. Instructions included in the Instructions for Garlic Mustard Tag Game.pdf.  
  5. Teacher goes over the field survey methods in the following paper:
  6. Teacher reviews survey methods using PPT found in Invasive Species (Garlic Mustard) PowerPoint and worksheet found in the Global Garlic Mustard Field Study pdf.

Participating in Citizen Science: 

7. Students use the same methods as Colautti et al. to determine the presence/characteristics of garlic mustard on their school or on their property/neighborhood and write down observations. Instructions regarding how to track and input observations is included on the website compiled by Dr. Rob Colautti: Instructions on how to run activity are included in Invasive Species (Garlic Mustard) PowerPoint

If school yards don’t have garlic mustard, the activity can also be adapted to another invasive species. (In Kingston, ON, some invasive species include: wild parsnip, purple loosestrife, phragmites, dog strangling vine.) Alternatively, if teachers are feeling adventurous, they can take their class to Belle Island and contribute to citizen science using the website or by using the iNaturalist app. The island had lots of garlic mustard the students can track and record!

Optional Extension Activity: 

1. Students can do research and develop a plan to eradicate garlic mustard (or another invasive species) from the school property, Belle Island or another location they visit.