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Invasive species: Understanding the threat before it's too late

Date:
March 22, 2013
Source:
Northeastern University College of Science
Summary:
Catching rides on cargo ships and fishing boats, many invasive species are now covering our shorelines and compromising the existence of our native marine life. Scientists have examined what factors allow some invasive species to survive in their new environments and others to fail.

Catching rides on cargo ships and fishing boats, many invasive species are now covering our shorelines and compromising the existence of our native marine life.

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In a study published in Ecology Letters, Northeastern University Prof. David Kimbro and his team examine what factors allow some invasive species to survive in their new environments and others to fail.

Why we should care

Once invasive species arrive in their new location, they begin multiplying, and in some cases, overpowering the local marine life. This can have a very strong impact on our ecosystems and businesses, such as fisheries.

Understanding what makes these invaders thrive or fail in their new environments is not only key to preventing the collapse of local marine life, but also figuring out ways to make some invaders work to benefit their new locations. "Not all invasive species are bad. In fact, we need some of them to succeed. But invasions are certainly a double-edged sword because many invasions cost us a lot in terms of money and natural heritage."

Prof. Kimbro, currently stationed at Northeastern University's Marine Science Center in Nahant, collected synthesized research on marine diversity reports published from 1997-2012 to better understand the specific biological and environmental properties that allow invasive species to succeed or fail.

"For the past 15 years, marine scientists have conducted a lot of experiments that have taught us a lot about specific invasions in many different places. But unlike terrestrial scientists, no one had pieced all of these unique stories together to see if they collectively tell us a general and useful message. And until we see cattle swimming and kudzu growing in the ocean, we can't just recycle the messages from land studies and use them to manage our coastal systems."


Story Source:

The above story is based on materials provided by Northeastern University College of Science. Note: Materials may be edited for content and length.


Journal Reference:

  1. David L. Kimbro, Brian S. Cheng, Edwin D. Grosholz. Biotic resistance in marine environments. Ecology Letters, 2013; DOI: 10.1111/ele.12106

Cite This Page:

Northeastern University College of Science. "Invasive species: Understanding the threat before it's too late." ScienceDaily. ScienceDaily, 22 March 2013. <www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130322125354.htm>.
Northeastern University College of Science. (2013, March 22). Invasive species: Understanding the threat before it's too late. ScienceDaily. Retrieved December 22, 2014 from www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130322125354.htm
Northeastern University College of Science. "Invasive species: Understanding the threat before it's too late." ScienceDaily. www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/03/130322125354.htm (accessed December 22, 2014).

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