Human ecology of a species introduction: interactions between humans and introduced green iguanas in a Puerto Rican urban estuary.
This paper reports results of interdisciplinary research between anthropologists and wildlife ecologists about the interactions between people and introduced green iguanas (Iguana iguana) in the San Juan Bay Estuary in Puerto Rico. Non-indigenous, introduced species and their impact on invaded ecosystems, including humans, are a worldwide environmental concern. Humans are the dominant species in most world ecosystems, and, thus, studying an introduced species' interactions with people is of utmost importance to understand its impacts, make predictions, and inform environmental policy. Here, we detail some remarkable findings of our ongoing research in this topic, including (1) the spatial distribution of introduced green iguanas with respect to people's activities and land uses, (2) the intracultural variation in attitudes and values regarding introduced iguanas and other introduced species in the study region, (3) local people's knowledge about iguana diets in the estuary, and (4) the interactions between green iguanas and the tourism industry in Puerto Rico.