Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:


Internet viruses help ecologists control invasive species


Studying how computer viruses spread through the internet is helping ecologists to prevent invasions of non-native species. New research published today in the British Ecological Society’s Journal of Applied Ecology, describes the use of network theory to predict how the spiny water flea - a native of Russia - will spread through the Canadian lake system.

Ecologists Jim Muirhead and Professor Hugh MacIsaac of the University of Windsor, Ontario have been studying the spread of the spiny water flea, Bythotrephes longimanus, through Canadian lakes. Using network theory, they built up a picture of the lakes as nodes in a network connected by human traffic, including boat trailers and anglers. Like internet viruses, which spread fastest when they attack the most widely-used email programmes, Muirhead and MacIsaac examined patterns of human vector movement to see whether some invaded systems have the potential to develop into invasion hubs.

According to Muirhead and MacIsaac: "Some lakes invaded by the spiny water flea may serve as invasion hubs if departing boaters and anglers travel to large numbers of non-invaded destination lakes." They found that two of the five lakes they studied, Lake Simcoe and Lake Kashagwigamog, are likely to develop as invasion hubs because most boaters and anglers leaving these lakes travel to lakes that are still free from the spiny water flea.

Earlier work by the pair found that another lake in the network, Lake Muskoka in central Ontario, has served as the hub from which 39 other lakes have become infected since 1989. "It quickly developed into a regional hub for two reasons. First, all of its outbound traffic was to non-invaded lakes and second, the total amount of traffic leaving this source was high," they say.

The findings are important because they allow the limited resources available to control invasive species to be targeted at points on the network where they will have most impact. "Outbound vector traffic from hubs with large flows to non-invaded destinations should be targeted for management efforts to restrict the transportation of propagules across the network and to reduce the rate at which non-indigenous species disperse to novel sites," Muirhead and MacIsaac conclude.

The spiny water flea was first found in Lake Ontario in 1982 and by 2003 it had invaded at least 57 inland lakes and lake systems in Canada. Its spread has been facilitated because it can produce resting eggs able to survive adverse environmental conditions (such as drying out or being eaten by fish), and because humans transport the eggs on their fishing gear and pleasure boats.

Professor Norman Yan of Ontario’s York University has demonstrated that predation by the spiny water flea causes an average loss of three zooplankton species. Thus, as the species spreads, it could cause loss of thousands of populations of zooplankton species in Ontario alone.

Lynne Miller | EurekAlert!
Further information:

More articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation:

nachricht Invasive Insects Cost the World Billions Per Year
04.10.2016 | University of Adelaide

nachricht Malaysia's unique freshwater mussels in danger
27.09.2016 | The University of Nottingham Malaysia Campus

All articles from Ecology, The Environment and Conservation >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

Die letzten 5 Focus-News des innovations-reports im Überblick:

Im Focus: New 3-D wiring technique brings scalable quantum computers closer to reality

Researchers from the Institute for Quantum Computing (IQC) at the University of Waterloo led the development of a new extensible wiring technique capable of controlling superconducting quantum bits, representing a significant step towards to the realization of a scalable quantum computer.

"The quantum socket is a wiring method that uses three-dimensional wires based on spring-loaded pins to address individual qubits," said Jeremy Béjanin, a PhD...

Im Focus: Scientists develop a semiconductor nanocomposite material that moves in response to light

In a paper in Scientific Reports, a research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute describes a novel light-activated phenomenon that could become the basis for applications as diverse as microscopic robotic grippers and more efficient solar cells.

A research team at Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) has developed a revolutionary, light-activated semiconductor nanocomposite material that can be used...

Im Focus: Diamonds aren't forever: Sandia, Harvard team create first quantum computer bridge

By forcefully embedding two silicon atoms in a diamond matrix, Sandia researchers have demonstrated for the first time on a single chip all the components needed to create a quantum bridge to link quantum computers together.

"People have already built small quantum computers," says Sandia researcher Ryan Camacho. "Maybe the first useful one won't be a single giant quantum computer...

Im Focus: New Products - Highlights of COMPAMED 2016

COMPAMED has become the leading international marketplace for suppliers of medical manufacturing. The trade fair, which takes place every November and is co-located to MEDICA in Dusseldorf, has been steadily growing over the past years and shows that medical technology remains a rapidly growing market.

In 2016, the joint pavilion by the IVAM Microtechnology Network, the Product Market “High-tech for Medical Devices”, will be located in Hall 8a again and will...

Im Focus: Ultra-thin ferroelectric material for next-generation electronics

'Ferroelectric' materials can switch between different states of electrical polarization in response to an external electric field. This flexibility means they show promise for many applications, for example in electronic devices and computer memory. Current ferroelectric materials are highly valued for their thermal and chemical stability and rapid electro-mechanical responses, but creating a material that is scalable down to the tiny sizes needed for technologies like silicon-based semiconductors (Si-based CMOS) has proven challenging.

Now, Hiroshi Funakubo and co-workers at the Tokyo Institute of Technology, in collaboration with researchers across Japan, have conducted experiments to...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>



Event News

#IC2S2: When Social Science meets Computer Science - GESIS will host the IC2S2 conference 2017

14.10.2016 | Event News

Agricultural Trade Developments and Potentials in Central Asia and the South Caucasus

14.10.2016 | Event News

World Health Summit – Day Three: A Call to Action

12.10.2016 | Event News

Latest News

Resolving the mystery of preeclampsia

21.10.2016 | Health and Medicine

Stanford researchers create new special-purpose computer that may someday save us billions

21.10.2016 | Information Technology

From ancient fossils to future cars

21.10.2016 | Materials Sciences

More VideoLinks >>>