Forum for Science, Industry and Business

Sponsored by:     3M 
Search our Site:

 

Cornell marine biologist’s persistence leads to discovery of invasive sea squirts in vital Maine fishing grounds

02.09.2005


USGS/NOAA - A colony of Didemnum (sea squirts) encrusts a mussel shell -- typical of the damage being caused by the invasive species in Cobscook Bay, Maine.


Thanks to the doggedness of a Cornell University marine biologist, researchers have discovered that one of Maine’s most important fishing areas has been invaded by an alien tunicate, or sea squirt, that could threaten the commercial fishing industry there.

A rapid assessment survey for marine invasive species in Cobscook Bay in August found a type of sea squirt -- Didemnum sp. -- that can damage ocean floor habitats and commercial species that live there. The survey was conceived and organized by Robin Hadlock Seeley, a visiting fellow in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology at Cornell.

The invading sea squirt, first documented on the eastern coast of the United States in the 1970s and believed to be the byproduct of importing Japanese oysters for aquaculture, spreads rapidly by forming mats that look like blobs of pancake batter. It already has overrun some 40 square miles of Georges Bank, a prime offshore fishing area about 160 miles from outer Cape Cod.



"When a 2003 Rapid Assessment funded by the Environmental Protection Agency limited its search for invasive species in Maine to Casco Bay in southern Maine, I became very concerned that important bays farther north, such as Cobscook Bay, weren’t included in this survey," said Seeley, whose long-term research has focused on predator-prey interactions in the Cobscook Bay ecosystem.

So she went to The Nature Conservancy about two years ago looking for support, wrote grants to fund a survey of Cobscook Bay within the state of Maine, invited investigators to participate and then coordinated the logistics for some 20 marine biologists to investigate the bay for three days in early August by taking samples from docks, buoys, boat ramps and fish farms.

"We now know that the Didemnum is definitely present in these waters," said Seeley, who noted that the bay is an important source of scallops, mussels, lobsters and clams and is home to salmon and sea urchin aquaculture operations. "We do not yet know, however, to what extent Didemnum has spread throughout the bay. Further research and monitoring is needed."

She noted that the waters of Cobscook Bay, which are near the Canadian border, may be too cold for Didemnum to spread and to pose a major threat to the area at present but that rising sea surface temperatures could allow the squirt to spread in the future.

Her survey not only discovered a potentially threatening species in eastern Maine, but also demonstrated that a locally funded survey could be effective without reliance on federal agencies to fund expensive, large-scale regional projects. In addition to Maine’s chapter of The Nature Conservancy, the survey was supported by Maine Sea Grant, the Cobscook Bay Resource Center, the Maine State Planning Office and the Maine Department of Marine Resources.

"Now that we’ve shown that a local approach to funding and supporting a rapid assessment survey is possible, other coastal communities may want to follow suit to survey their waters to determine if any invasive species are present and whether they pose an ecological or economic threat," said Seeley, who also serves as the associate curator of Cornell’s malacology (mollusks, such as chitons, clams, mussels, snails, sea slugs, octopus and squid) collection.

Other researchers who participated in the three-day survey with Seeley included those from the University of Maine, University of New Hampshire -- including Larry Harris who found theDidemnum as part of the survey -- the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Williams College-Mystic Seaport Maritime Studies Program, the Royal Ontario Museum in Canada and University of Washington.

Blaine Friedlander | EurekAlert!
Further information:
http://www.cornell.edu

More articles from Life Sciences:

nachricht New risk factors for anxiety disorders
24.02.2017 | Julius-Maximilians-Universität Würzburg

nachricht Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers
24.02.2017 | Johannes Gutenberg-Universität Mainz

All articles from Life Sciences >>>

The most recent press releases about innovation >>>

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

Im Focus: Breakthrough with a chain of gold atoms

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

In the field of nanoscience, an international team of physicists with participants from Konstanz has achieved a breakthrough in understanding heat transport

Im Focus: DNA repair: a new letter in the cell alphabet

Results reveal how discoveries may be hidden in scientific “blind spots”

Cells need to repair damaged DNA in our genes to prevent the development of cancer and other diseases. Our cells therefore activate and send “repair-proteins”...

Im Focus: Dresdner scientists print tomorrow’s world

The Fraunhofer IWS Dresden and Technische Universität Dresden inaugurated their jointly operated Center for Additive Manufacturing Dresden (AMCD) with a festive ceremony on February 7, 2017. Scientists from various disciplines perform research on materials, additive manufacturing processes and innovative technologies, which build up components in a layer by layer process. This technology opens up new horizons for component design and combinations of functions. For example during fabrication, electrical conductors and sensors are already able to be additively manufactured into components. They provide information about stress conditions of a product during operation.

The 3D-printing technology, or additive manufacturing as it is often called, has long made the step out of scientific research laboratories into industrial...

Im Focus: Mimicking nature's cellular architectures via 3-D printing

Research offers new level of control over the structure of 3-D printed materials

Nature does amazing things with limited design materials. Grass, for example, can support its own weight, resist strong wind loads, and recover after being...

Im Focus: Three Magnetic States for Each Hole

Nanometer-scale magnetic perforated grids could create new possibilities for computing. Together with international colleagues, scientists from the Helmholtz Zentrum Dresden-Rossendorf (HZDR) have shown how a cobalt grid can be reliably programmed at room temperature. In addition they discovered that for every hole ("antidot") three magnetic states can be configured. The results have been published in the journal "Scientific Reports".

Physicist Dr. Rantej Bali from the HZDR, together with scientists from Singapore and Australia, designed a special grid structure in a thin layer of cobalt in...

All Focus news of the innovation-report >>>

Anzeige

Anzeige

Event News

Booth and panel discussion – The Lindau Nobel Laureate Meetings at the AAAS 2017 Annual Meeting

13.02.2017 | Event News

Complex Loading versus Hidden Reserves

10.02.2017 | Event News

International Conference on Crystal Growth in Freiburg

09.02.2017 | Event News

 
Latest News

Stingless bees have their nests protected by soldiers

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

New risk factors for anxiety disorders

24.02.2017 | Life Sciences

MWC 2017: 5G Capital Berlin

24.02.2017 | Trade Fair News

VideoLinks
B2B-VideoLinks
More VideoLinks >>>