Saturday, January 24, 2009

EPA Predicts Even More Species Invasions

monkey goby
monkey goby (photo from
based on the US EPA National Center for Environmental Assessment report Predicting Future Introductions of Nonindigenous Species to the Great Lakes, Jan 5, 2009

At least 185 exotic species have been identified as already present in the Great Lakes. Thirteen have done extensive harm to the environment and the economy. We've all heard of the Zebra Mussels, and are worried about Asian Carp. You might recall the Bloody Red Shrimp found in Muskegon Lake, but how about potential newcomers like the Blueback Herring, Monkey and Round Goby, and Fishhook Waterflea?

fishhook waterflea predicted invasion
from the EPA report
Ballast water from commercial shipping is the primary means by which NIS have entered the Great Lakes. Although the subject has been much debated, there is no ballast water treatment standard for transoceanic vessels. The EPA study identifies 30 potential invaders with a moderate to high risk of success, and 28 others that already have a foothold in the Great Lakes. In the 77-page report, plus appendices, the most likely invaders are described in detail, and a map of Great Lakes areas where they are likely to succeed is shown. Lakes Ontario and Erie, being shallower are at greater risk, but none of the lakes is exempt from some invasions.

In light of the recent information concerning the deepwater population of Quagga Mussels in Lake Michigan it is interesting that the report does not predict that it would spread beyond shallow zones. Invaders are often very adaptable.

"It is likely that nonindigenous species will continue to arrive in the Great Lakes. These findings support the need for detection and monitoring efforts at those ports believed to be at greatest risk," the report said.

Links to the reports can be found at Predicting Future Introductions of Nonindigenous Species to the Great Lakes
See 330 Trillion Quagga Mussels Can't Be Right
Skip the Local Sushi- A New Tapeworm in the Great Lakes
Biological Pesticide Found for Zebra Mussels
Bloody Red Shrimp Invades Great Lakes
These links are checked on the date of the article. As the article ages, some links may become invalid

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