Invading our news: Invasive species news blog, Update 1
Jeffrey Rubel is a summer intern at GMRI sharing his energy and talents with the Vital Signs community. Check out his special blog series, Invading Our News.
- We all know of the invasive species in and around Maine – rock snot, purple loosestrife, and emerald ash borer, just to name a few. But, these species don’t only threaten or invade our state; many of them are found all around the US. For the next three weeks, we will share with you some news blurbs about how the government (state and federal) and different organizations are addressing these species. Maybe you’ll get inspired to write to your representative or create an event modeled after one of these. Read on!
In Miami, Florida, three chefs will be battling for the title of Best Invasiore Chef at a fundraiser organized by the Fertile Earth Foundation. Chefs Todd Erickson, Bradley Herron and Timon Balloo will compete in a competition styled after the Food Network show Iron Chef America. Like on the show, the chefs will be required to cook with specific “secret ingredients,” but their ingredients will be Florida invasive species like lionfish and python. Time to bring the battle to Maine!
It was all fun and games when a 65-foot long floating dock washed up in central Oregon from Japan’s tsunami last year until scientists examined the dock and discovered about two tons of living sea creatures in and on it – some of which, as you might expect, are invasive species. It had never been a concern that marine debris would carry invasive species across the ocean, but it is now a different story for scientists. The dock contained the Northern Pacific star fish, brown algae (like what you get in miso soup), and, a Maine invasive, the Japanese shore crab.
Ballast water from ships is the perfect place for invasive species to hide away and move from place to place around the globe. The United Nationals International Marine Organization has set standards for ballast water, but ballast treatment systems are costly, anywhere from a few hundred thousand dollars to several million. But, Balhousie University in Canada and a ballast treatment manufacturing company have teamed up to test different treatment products to create one that is cost effective and efficient.
Zebras might come to Maine. No, not like the African mammal. The mussel. The zebra mussel is a pesky invasive species that moves into water bodies and multiplies quickly (one female can produce thirty to forty thousand new mussels!) to clog up pipes, choke out other native mussels and cover the entire lake floor. Most native mussels reproduce by spewing their larvae into fish gills where they incubate and then fall out to form new mussels. But, the zebra mussels are adapted to skip this host fish step that allows them to produce a lot more offspring. British Columbia in Canada is setting up a marine decontamination station in order to blast boats with hot, high-pressure water that kills the mussels. Maybe a device like this will be coming to Maine in the near future to keep this pesky mussel out of our state.
Interested in learning more about mussel reproduction?
Though it may sound awfully boring, it is actually not. Mussel reproduction is a fascinating process. Watch this video from the state of Missouri to learn more: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=I0YTBj0WHkU.
Also, here is a photograph of a page from the Missouri Department of Conservation publication “Missouri’s Freshwater Mussels” by Sue Bruenderman, Janet Sternburg and Chris Barnhart that outlines the mussel reproduction process.