Ocean BioInvasion

 January 2016. Potential invasive species identified in S. Gulf of Mexico.

November 2015. Marine invasive species benefiting from rising carbon dioxide levels Territories changing due to ocean acidification.

March 2013. Invasive species: Understanding the threat before it’s too late.

7 Sep 2011. Giant Crabs invade Antarctica. New Scientist (original source Proceedings of the Royal Society)

More than a million large 3-foot wide crabs have invaded deep Antarctic waters after the water warmed up enough for them to survive.  They’ve wiped out the local wildlife (sea urchins, sea lilies, sea cucumbers, starfish and brittle stars ) and now threaten to ruin ecosystems that have evolved over 14 million years.   The only way to make them go away is to stop global warming, says Craig Smith of the University of Hawaii at Manoa, who discovered the scarlet invaders.

Molnar, Jennifer, et. al. 2008. Assessing the global threat of invasive species to marine biodiversity  Frontiers in Ecology 6(9): 485-492.

Invasive species have transformed marine habitats around the world. The most harmful of these invaders displace native species, change community structure and food webs, and alter fundamental processes, such as nutrient cycling and sedimentation. Alien invasives have damaged economies by diminishing fisheries, fouling ships’ hulls, and clogging intake pipes. Some can even directly impact human health by causing disease

6 Jun 2012. Dock found in Oregon is debris from Japan.

A 165 ton dock (70-feet-long, 19 feet wide, 7 fet high) landed on Agate beach in Oregon near Newport. It originally came from a fishing port 5,000 miles away in northern Japan, torn loose by last year’s tsunami.

A starfish native to Japan was among the marine life still clinging to the structure. John Chapman, a research scientist at Oregon State University’s Hatfield Marine Science Center, said hundreds of millions of other organisms also hitchhiked across the ocean on the dock — some of which are invasive species never before seen on this part of the West Coast. Among the organisms are a species of tiny crab that has run wild on the East Coast but not on the West, and a kind of algae that has hit southern California but not Oregon.

“This is a very clear threat,” he said. “It’s exactly like saying you threw a bowling ball into a China shop. It’s going to break something.”

Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., called on the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration to redouble its efforts to track the debris, saying something as big as the dock could pose a danger to ships at sea.

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