Tag: invasive species

Warming oceans to aid spread of invasive species in Antarctica

Kelp rafts seen pathways for non-native worms, snails

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For now, humans are the main invasive species in Antarctica, but that could change as the surrounding ocean warms. @bberwyn photo.

Staff Report

Parts of Antarctica could soon face an invasion by exotic species floating southward on kelp rafts, Australian researchers found in a new study published in the journal Ecography.

While the Antarctic circumpolar current has long formed a barrier to invasive species, the research found that the kelp rafts often cross that Antarctic Polar Front, carrying with them crustaceans, worms, snails and other seaweeds across hundreds of kilometres of open ocean. Continue reading “Warming oceans to aid spread of invasive species in Antarctica”

Florida’s latest invasive species is a potential man-eater

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Nile crocodiles may be spreading out Florida. Photo courtesy MathKnight and Zachi Evenor, via Wikipedia and the Creative Commons.

Scientists say Nile crocs may be thriving in Sunshine State swamps

Staff Report

The latest non-native species to invade Florida’s subtropical clime is a man-eater, according to University of Florida researchers who say they’ve genetically identified Nile crocodiles living in the swamps of the Sunshine State.

The aquatic reptiles can grow as long as 18 feet and weigh as much as a small car, and in their native habitat eat everything from hippos and zebras to humans. In Florida, they could eat native birds, fish and mammals, as well as the state’s native crocodile and alligators, said the researchers, have confirmed the capture of multiple Nile crocodiles in the wild, using DNA analysis.

Crocodylus niloticus, as they’re known scientifically, were blamed for at least 480 attacks on people and 123 fatalities in Africa between 2010 and 2014. Three juveniles, likely released by humans, have been found in South Florida, swimming in the Everglades and relaxing on a house porch in Miami. Continue reading “Florida’s latest invasive species is a potential man-eater”

Bat-killing white-nose syndrome jumps to West Coast

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A little brown bat infected with white-nose syndrome. Photo via USGS.

Conservation advocates call for more protective measures to protect bat populations

Staff Report

A bat-killing disease that has been spreading across the U.S. westward from the East Coast has now been found in the Far West. White-nose syndrome, which has devastated bat populations, was confirmed in a little brown bat near Noth Bend, in Washington State, according to the U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service.

According to the USFWS, it’s the first recorded occurrence of white-nose syndrome in western North America. The fungal disease has killed more than six million beneficial insect-eating bats in North America since it was first documented nearly a decade ago. Most recently, biologists documented the spread of the disease in Oklahoma.
Continue reading “Bat-killing white-nose syndrome jumps to West Coast”

Biodiversity: Snake-killing fungal disease spreads to Louisiana

Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, a fungus that is afflicting snakes across the Midwest and Eastern US, shares many traits with Pseudogymnoascus destructans the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in bats, researchers report. Credit Julie McMahon
Ophidiomyces ophiodiicola, a fungus that is afflicting snakes across the Midwest and Eastern US, shares many traits with Pseudogymnoascus destructans the fungus that causes white-nose syndrome in bats, researchers report.
Credit: Julie McMahon.

‘Snakes may not be everyone’s favorite animal, but they are undeniably important in a well-balanced ecosystem’

Staff Report

A rapidly spreading fungal disease that’s killing some snake species at an alarming rate has now been found in in Louisiana for the first time, according to a new study by U.S. Geological Survey scientists. Snake fungal disease now has been confirmed in at least 16 states in the Eastern and Midwestern United States.

Biologists tracking SFD have said it’s “eerily similar” to the fungus that has wiped out millions of bats across the eastern U.S. The snake and bat pathogens emerged in North America in the mid-2000s. Both are moving from east to west across the United States and into parts of Canada. Biologists have also recently identified another fungal pathogen that’s threatening North American salamanders. Continue reading “Biodiversity: Snake-killing fungal disease spreads to Louisiana”

Feds outline plan to curb invasive species

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Invasive quagga mussels at Lake Powell. Photo courtesy NPS.

Early detection and response, partnerships across jurisdictions seen as critical measures

Staff Report

The spread of invasive species has been identified as the second-leading cause of extinctions among all plants and animals worldwide — and the problem is getting worse in the era of global trade. Just a few months ago, scientists warned that North American amphibians are at risk from an invasive fungus. White-nose syndrome, which has wiped out millions of bats, may have also spread to the U.S. from Europe.

Federal officials now say they have a plan to try and curb the proliferation of invasive species by focusing on early detection and swift response. The measures are outlined in a report released by the Interior Department: Safeguarding America’s Lands and Waters from Invasive Species: A National Framework for Early Detection and Rapid Response.

“Invasive species pose one of the most significant ecological threats to America’s lands and waters,” said U.S. Department of the Interior Principal Deputy Assistant Secretary Kristen J. Sarri. “Early detection and rapid response actions can reduce the long-term costs, economic burden, and ecological harm that they have on communities. Strong partnerships and a shared commitment to preventing the spread of invasive species can lay the foundation for more effective and cost-efficient strategies to stop their spread.” Continue reading “Feds outline plan to curb invasive species”

Web commerce speeds invasive plant threat

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Himalayan balsam was introduced as an ornamental and quickly spread throughout the northern hemisphere where it’s considered an invasive plant that displaces native flora in some areas. Photo courtesy Royal Horticultural Society.

Swiss study tracks online sales of potential invaders

Staff Report

Online commerce is accelerating the invasive species threat worldwide, Swiss reasearchers said last week after taking a close look at at the unbridled market for buying and selling plants on the internet.

These days, all it takes is one click to spread potentially invasive plants from continent to continent – and unintentionally encouraging biological invasions, the researchers said, referring to invaders like goldenrod, Himalayan balsam and the Chinese windmill palm — all of which now threaten native biodiversity in the Alpine republic.

The assess the extent of the problem, ETH Zurich researchers monitoried online trades of about two-thirds of the world’s flora on eBay plus nine other online trading platforms for 50 days, tracking which plant species were offered for sale in various countries, and how often. Continue reading “Web commerce speeds invasive plant threat”

Genetics help pinpoint origins of lionfish invasion

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Red lionfish are swarming the western Atlantic and Caribbean. Photo courtesy USGS.

New data may help control efforts

Staff Report

FRISCO— Biologists and resource managers grappling with invasive red lionfish in the Caribbean have some new clues based on genetic research.

Without natural predators, lionfish have spread throughout the western Atlantic, displacing native fish and disrupting ecosystems.

In a new study released this week, U.S. Geological Survey researchers say the invasion probably started in multiple locations. Florida had been fingered as the likely source, but the analysis suggest that multiple introductions occurred, with some potentially coming from the more southern parts of the range. Continue reading “Genetics help pinpoint origins of lionfish invasion”