Posted on January 29, 2015 by Bob Berwyn
Open water in the Arctic will shake up the species mix in both the Atlantic and Pacific oceans.
Changes ahead, outcome uncertain
FRISCO — Melting Arctic sea ice is breaking down the natural barrier between Pacific and Atlantic fish species, with as-yet unknown consequences for ocean ecosystems, scientists said this week in a new study published in Nature Climate Change.
The last time the environmental conditions allowed such large-scale transfer to occur was nearly three million years ago during the opening of the Bering Strait, which facilitated the spread of mostly Pacific marine species toward the Atlantic. Continue reading
Filed under: Arctic, climate and weather, climate change, global warming, Greenland | Tagged: Arctic sea ice, climate change, fisheries, global warming, invasive species | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 28, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Winter weather patterns expected to bring another wave of flotsam
FRISCO — Ocean scientists in the Pacific Northwest say winter winds and currents are set to deliver another load of debris from the deadly 2011 tsunami that swept Japan. Last year, about 30 fishing boats washed ashore along the coast of Washington and Oregon, many covered with living organisms native to Asia.
Some of the Asian coastal species could pose a threat to native ecosystems in the Pacific Northwest, said John Chapman, an Oregon State University marine invasive species specialist at OSU’s Hatfield Marine Science Center. Continue reading
Filed under: Environment, Marine biology, ocean conservation | Tagged: 2011 Japan tsunami, invasive species, Marine debris, oceans | Leave a comment »
Posted on December 15, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Meadow Creek wetlands, Frisco, Colorado.
‘Death by a thousand cuts’
FRISCO — Invasive wetlands species are likely to get a boost from climate change, resulting in long-term threats to key native ecosystems, according to new research from Duke University.
“Changing surface-water temperatures, rainfall patterns and river flows will likely give Japanese knotweed, hydrilla, honeysuckle, privet and other noxious invasive species an edge over less adaptable native species,” said Neal E. Flanagan, visiting assistant professor at the Duke Wetland Center, who led the research. Continue reading
Filed under: climate and weather, Environment, global warming, invasive species, wetlands | Tagged: climate chane, Environment, global warming, invasive species, wetlands | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 23, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Invasive species a huge threat to sparse ecosystems, scientists report
Tourists on Dundee Island hike past birds and pinnipeds. bberwyn photo
Tourists hiking on Deception Island. bberwyn photo
FRISCO — The tiny ice-free fringes of Antarctica are especially prone to ecosystem disruption, including invasive species, an Australian science team warned earlier this year after taking a close look at how human use is concentrated in those slivers of dry land.
Antarctica has over 40,000 visitors a year, and more and more research facilities are being built in the continent’s tiny ice-free area. Most of the Antarctic wildlife and plants live in the ice-free areas – and this is also where people most visit.
Most tour operators in Antarctica follow strict guidelines set to protect ecosystems, including at least basic decontamination procedures, but those measures might not be enough, especially as global warming makes ice-free zones more susceptible to invasive species. Continue reading
Filed under: Antarctica, biodiversity, Environment, global warming, tourism | Tagged: Antarctica, Antarctica protected areas, Environment, invasive species, Tourism, wildlife | Leave a comment »
Posted on October 3, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
Native ecoystems at risk
Bullfrogs, native to eastern North America, have gained a firm foothold in the Yellowstone River, where they could put native species at risk. Photo courtesy USGS.
FRISCO — Big and pushy, invasive bullfrogs are expanding their range in the Yellowstone River floodplain in Montana at the expense of other native animals, biologists reported in a new study released in “Aquatic Invasions.”
“The impacts of bullfrogs on native amphibians in the Yellowstone River are not yet known, but native Northern leopard frogs are likely to be most vulnerable to bullfrog invasion and spread because their habitats overlap,” said Adam Sepulveda, USGS scientist and lead author of the study.
Bullfrogs are thought to be a cause in the declines of multiple amphibian and reptile species around the globe. They are big, mobile, omnivores with a voracious appetite, ability to reproduce rapidly, and carriers of amphibian diseases. This makes them an extremely successful invader and a threat to biodiversity. The study is the first of its kind to describe the rapid extent of bullfrog spread, as well as their preferred habitat along the Yellowstone River near Billings, Montana. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, invasive species | Tagged: biodiversity, bullfrogs, Environment, invasive species, Yellowstone River | Leave a comment »
Posted on September 19, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
A juvenile rabbitfish, an invasive species blamed for wiping out huge areas of ocean habitat. Photo courtesy Zafer Kizilkaya.
Ocean ecosystems at risk from fish that kills algal forests
FRISCO — The spread of invasive tropical fish into previously temperate waters is also affecting the Mediterranean Sea, according to Australian scientist monitoring the spread of rabbitfish which have already devastated algal forests in the eastern Mediterranean Sea.
Global warming may help the fish spread into the entire Mediterranean Basin, researcher warned in a new paper published in the Journal of Ecology (Authors: Dr. Adriana Vergés, of the University of New South Wales, Australia, and Dr. Fiona Tomas of the Mediterranean Institute for Advanced Studies in Spain). Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, Environment, invasive species | Tagged: climate change, global warming, invasive species, Mediterranean Sea, oceans, rabbitfish | 1 Comment »
Posted on September 15, 2014 by Bob Berwyn
The lionfish are coming, for better or worse.
New study takes detailed look at changing ocean temperatures
FRISCO — Careful study of ocean temperatures shows how tropical fish are likely to expand northward along the Atlantic coast into the temperate ocean zone off the Carolinas. Invaders could include the poisonous lionfish, which is already causing problems on coral reefs in the Caribbean.
Researchers with NOAA and the University of North Carolina-Wilmington combined year-round bottom water temperature data with 2006-2010 fish community surveys in water depths from 15 to 150 feet off the coast of North Carolina. The study revealed that the fish community was primarily tropical in the deeper areas surveyed, from 122 to 150 feet, with a winter mean temperature of 21 degrees Celsius (69.8 degrees Fahrenheit).
Many of the native tropical fishes, usually abundant in shallow, somewhat cooler reefs, tended to remain in the deeper, warmer water, suggesting that temperature is a main factor in controlling their distribution. The findings were published in the September issue of Marine Ecology Progress Series. Continue reading
Filed under: biodiversity, climate and weather, coral reefs, Environment, global warming, invasive species | Tagged: climate change, global warming, invasive species, oceans | Leave a comment »