Newswise — There's a battle brewing between natives and non-natives in San Francisco — and Ball State University will produce a live, interactive broadcast to show how the trouble got started.

"Biological Invasion," developed by Ball State's Teachers College with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) and sponsored by Best Buy Children's Foundation, will show how millions of tiny plants and animals hitch rides across the globe in ships' ballast water.

Many non-native organisms can adapt quickly to new environments and compete with native plants and animals and sometimes introduce new diseases to coastal ecosystems. Greg Ruiz, head of SERC's Marine Invasion Ecology Lab, and his team of researchers study the rate and patterns of U.S. coastal invasions and maintain a national database of marine and estuarine invasions.

"During this field trip, we'll investigate the cause and consequences of the arrival of organisms not native to America's coastal waters," he said. "With our student hosts, we'll sample and study such organisms in the San Francisco Bay. We'll show how they arrived, how they've adapted and how they affect the overall ecosystem."

The live broadcast will air at 10 a.m. and 1 p.m. EST. The broadcasts are anticipated to reach more than 15 million viewers in 49 states with captioning available through a National Captioning Institute federal grant. Information can be found at

Throughout the broadcast, viewers will be able to call in with questions or submit them online in a live discussion forum. Viewers can register to receive the Internet broadcast at or can check local cable and PBS listings.

Ball State's Electronic Field Trips earned international honors at the 2005 World Media Festival. The Web sites for this season's "Into the Canyon" and "Where Are All the Little Green Men?" won a gold award and silver award, respectively, in the category of global competition for modern media.

Electronic Field Trip partners include the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum; Space Center Houston/NASA; the National Park Foundation; Garfield and PAWS Inc.; the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum; and four Smithsonian entities -- The Environmental Research Center, National Museum of the American Indian, National American History Museum and National Air and Space Museum.

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