ELI5: Explain Like I'm 5

naturalisation (biology)

Naturalisation in biology refers to the process by which plant or animal species that are not native to a particular area are introduced and become established, usually through human activities such as trade, transportation, or farming. This means that non-native species, called "aliens" or "exotics," are imported into a different environment and begin to grow, reproduce, and spread on their own.

Think of it like bringing a new toy or object to a friend's house. You might bring a toy that your friend has never seen before, and they might really like it and want to play with it too. Soon, the toy becomes a regular part of your friend's household and they might want to share it with other friends as well.

Similarly, when humans bring new plant or animal species to a different environment, these species might be able to adapt and survive in their new surroundings. For example, if someone moves to a new country, they might learn a new language, find different food to eat, and adjust their lifestyle to fit in. Non-native species can sometimes do the same thing and succeed in their new environment.

However, naturalisation can also have negative effects on the local ecosystem. Some non-native species can outcompete and displace native species, disrupt natural cycles, and cause harm to food webs. This is similar to a bully coming to a new school and taking over, causing other kids to feel left out or even hurt.

So while naturalisation can be exciting and lead to new discoveries, it's important to pay attention to how it affects the environment and make sure that exotic species aren't causing more harm than good.