ELI5: Explain Like I'm 5

invasion genetics

Invasion genetics is like playing a game of "Guess Who" with different species of plants and animals. Imagine you have a game board with pictures of different animals and plants, with features like size, color, and shape that make them different from each other.

Now imagine that some of these species are not originally from the game board, but have been brought in by people from somewhere else. These species are like the new kids in school – they might look a little different and act differently from the original species.

Invasion genetics tries to understand what happens when these new species are introduced to a new ecosystem. Scientists study how the new species interact with the original species, and whether they can survive and reproduce in their new surroundings.

Just like in "Guess Who", some introduced species might "win" – they might adapt quickly to their new surroundings and outcompete the original species. Others might "lose" – they might not be able to adapt or reproduce, and die out.

Overall, invasion genetics helps scientists understand how species move and compete with each other, and how these changes impact the larger environment. By playing this "Guess Who" game with different species, scientists can learn more about the complex web of relationships that make up the natural world.