Monday, February 03, 2014

US West Coast on high alert against tsunami-washed Japanese invasive species

While winter storms have plunged temperatures across various parts of the United States, the West Coast is bracing itself for an altogether different – yet still very unwelcome – set of seasonal hazards: invading marine life from Japan.
Almost three years after the Tohoku earthquake and tsunami ravaged Japan’s east coast and set off the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster, dislodged debris from the site is still washing up onto American shores. Yet while scientists have downplayed the possibility that the wreckage is contaminated with radiation, they are keeping their eyes peeled for hostile sea creatures hitching rides from across the Pacific. 

The answer is ‘yes,’ there is a real threat,” John Chapman of the Oregon State University’s Marine Bioinvasion Lab told RT in an interview, noting that well over 150 marine species have arrived on the coast over the last year. “These [creatures] have the potential to invade local habitats.”
Currently, government agencies across California, Oregon, and Washington are drafting comprehensive surveys of their coasts in an attempt to determine exactly what species have reached their shores and which, if any, have been able to successfully establish themselves in local habitats.
“We’re still in the discovery phase,” Chapman said. “We’re still getting lots of debris” and even more is expected to arrive during the winter season, which is typically when the majority of the rubble washes ashore. Scientists previously believed that native Japanese marine life could not survive the voyage across the Pacific Ocean, but the results have proven quite the opposite.
“We’ve been wrong on all our predictions so far,” Chapman said.
Over the last two years, entire docks have made their way to the shores of Oregon and Washington, housing dozens of non-native marine life. Meanwhile, other instances have seen fishing vessels surface with entirely different communities of life onboard. Already, scientists and researchers have pinpointed a number of potentially hazardous arrivals.
According to marine biologist Steve Rumrill, of the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife (ODFW), two species discovered in the state were on the Global Invasive Species Database’s list of the world’s 100 worst invaders: Wakame, a seaweed native to Japan that began reproducing as soon as it arrived in America, and the Northern Pacific seastar, which he described as a voracious predator that could decimate local shellfish populations.............................


1 comment:

  1. Alerta en EE.UU. por especies invasoras arrastradas desde Japón por el tsunami....

    Mientras la mayor parte de la población del noreste de EE.UU. está preocupada por las tormentas invernales, la costa oeste se prepara para otra amenaza: la posible invasión de especies marinas japonesas arrastradas por el tsunami de 2011.
    Ya han pasado casi tres años desde que un terremoto sacudió Japón y un tsunami devastó la costa este de ese país, causando la catástrofe nuclear de Fukushima Daiichi. Sin embargo a día de hoy, todavía llegan escombros de aquel suceso a las costas estadounidenses.

    Científicos han restado importancia a la posibilidad de que los restos estén contaminados con radiación. No obstante, continúan atentos a la posible llegada de criaturas marinas desde el otro lado del Pacífico........Texto completo en:


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