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Invasive Species

This category contains 11 posts
Figure 1 – The beautiful lionfish. Each spine has venom in it that could seriously harm a human (or anything else that tried to attack it). Source: Wikimedia Commons

Lionfish slime helps ward off diseases

We know of many things that protect animals against disease – immune systems and gut bacteria are just the two most common examples. It turns out fish have antimicrobial properties that come from bacteria that live in the slime that covers their bodies, and it just might make lionfish specifically more resistant to disease.

Mussel bed in an intertidal zone during low tide. Photo by Ian Sutton, 2009.

With A Little Help From My Friend: Unexpected benefits of invasive species?

Invasive species are widely talked about as unequivocally bad influences on ecosystems, but oftentimes their interactions are more complex. Click here to read more about an unexpected interplay between two mussel species in the intertidal zone!

Fig. 3 Photos showing D. perlucidum  growing on seagrass, a navigational marker and substrate. Source: Simpson et al. 2016.

Seagrass Invasion! Tunicates colonizing seagrass beds impact plant and animal community

Seagrass habitats worldwide are in decline due to a number of factors. What happens when an invasive species comes on the scene to add to the stressors affecting seagrasses?

Fig 6: Alepes djedaba, one of the invasive species studied.  (Source: Public Commons)

When Aliens Invade: Disturbed Food Webs in the Mediterranean

Invasive species can wreak havoc on an ecosystem. Learn about the fishy invasion currently underway in the Mediterranean Sea and what impacts these invaders may be having on the region.

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Wave the Yellow Flag

While the blue flag iris is native to United States wetlands, the yellow variety is invasive and just starting to pop up on the radar of concern for land managers. This study found that seed dispersal was the main reproduction tactic, which was unique since asexual reproduction from rhizome pieces breaking off is the common method in its native European range .

invasivefish

Aliens attack: Predicting the spread of marine invasive species

Species invasions have become serious issues in the marine environment, mostly as a result of increased ship traffic. Once a new species invades an area, it is next to impossible to draw it out. What if there was a way to predict the arrival of alien species to new locations in the ocean? Would this predictive power help minimize future invasions?

Figure 1: A line of non-native phragmites in a wetland. Credit: https://c1.staticflickr.com/3/2161/2480281536_6fc00f1e41_b.jpg

Plant Parents: Divide, Seed, and Conquer

Phragmites is the ultimate parent in terms of reproductive success, allowing it to increase in area by 25% since 1971 in the Rhode River subestuary. While phragmites can spread asexually through rhizome clones, seed dispersion requiring two parents was the most successful tactic found in this study.

It was all going so well!

Death by evolution: how a hapless adaptation aided in the untimely demise of a Lake Victorian fish

Scientists have demonstrated that a human-induced extinction of a tropical lake fish was unwittingly assisted by a millions year old evolutionary adaptation.

Lionfish (Pterois volitans)
Photo Source: http://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Pterois_volitans.001_-_Aquarium_Finisterrae.JPG

Risking It All For Love: Courtship behavior by a reef fish makes it vulnerable to lionfish predation

Paper: Black, A.N., S.R. Weimann, V.E. Imhoff, M.L. Richter, and M. Itzkowitz. 2014. A differential prey response to invasive lionfish, Pterois volitans: Prey naiveté and risk-sensitive courtship. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 460: 1-7. DOI:10.1016/j.jembe.2014.06.002 This story sounds a lot like a bad high school romance. You see your crush across the hall! […]

Arctic vegetation

Increasing Earth’s Plant Life Would Help Combat Warming… Right?

Everyone knows that plants are essential to life on Earth. They use up climate-altering carbon dioxide and provide us with oxygen. But what happens when plants start growing in places where they aren’t wanted? Researchers attempt to model new plant growth in the Arctic with interactions between the atmosphere and sea-ice.

Fig 3: The sea bream ready for consumption.

You Are What Your Fish Eats: how an invasive seaweed is contributing to the decline in nutritional value of commercial fish

Invasive species are known to be harmful to native species, biodiversity, and ecosystem function. But recent research has shown that certain invasive species may be affecting the nutritional quality of your food!

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