Tag Archives: invasive species

Stemming the tide of invasive species

As a roomful of environmental scientists discussed the 100-pound “bigheaded” carp from Asia invading upper Midwestern rivers, Peter Sorensen thought about the common carp.

A century earlier, that fish had also been introduced and become invasive, causing major aquatic damage that persists to this day. (more…)

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Limited food may be significantly changing Great Lakes ecosystems

ANN ARBOR — Declines of the food resources that feed lake organisms are likely causing dramatic changes in the Great Lakes, according to a new study.

The study, led by the U.S. Geological Survey and co-authored by three University of Michigan researchers, found that since 1998, water clarity has been increasing in most Great Lakes, while phytoplankton (the microscopic water organisms that feed all other animals), native invertebrates and prey fish have been declining. These food web changes fundamentally affect the ecosystem’s valuable resources and are likely caused by decreasing levels of lake nutrients, and by growing numbers of invasive species such as zebra and quagga mussels. (more…)

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Invasion in the Desert: Why Some Plant Species are Survivors

Max Li’s research could inform policies to promote sustainable native environments and curb the invasion of alien plant species.

Max Li, a University of Arizona doctoral student in the Department of Ecology and Evolutionary Biology, is studying mechanisms that determine how competing desert plants can coexist with each other and what factors can cause the destruction of this stable coexistence.

His research could help inform policies to curb the spread of invasive species. (more…)

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Ancient Lamprey DNA Decoded

When it comes to evolution, humans can learn a thing or two from primeval sea lampreys.

In the current issue of Nature Genetics, a team of scientists has presented an assembly of the sea lamprey genome – the first time the entire sequence has been decoded. The data is compelling as the sea lamprey is one of the few ancient, jawless species that has survived through the modern era.

The paper not only sheds light on how the venerable invasive species adapted and thrived, but it also provides many insights into the evolution of all vertebrates, species with backbones and spinal cords, which includes humans, said Weiming Li, Michigan State University fisheries and wildlife professor, who organized and coordinated the team. (more…)

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Lionfish Invasion

Invasive species among marine science subjects in Cayman Islands study abroad program

With a spiky fringe of venomous barbs and bold brown-and-white stripes, the exotic lionfish invaded Florida waters several decades ago and expanded its range widely from the Caribbean to New York. Native to the Indo-Pacific, the invasive species has no natural predators in this part of the world and readily feasts on small fish and shrimp.

UD students have the opportunity to observe these intruders — up-close and underwater — in a new study abroad program offered in the Cayman Islands through the School of Marine Science and Policy (SMSP). (more…)

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Severe Declines in Everglades Mammals Linked to Pythons

HOMESTEAD, Fla. — Precipitous declines in formerly common mammals in Everglades National Park have been linked to the presence of invasive Burmese pythons, according to a study published on Jan. 30, 2012, in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.

The study, the first to document the ecological impacts of this invasive species, strongly supports that animal communities in this 1.5-million-acre park have been markedly altered by the introduction of pythons within 11 years of their establishment as an invasive species.  Mid-sized mammals are the most dramatically affected. (more…)

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Think Globally, but Act Locally When Studying Plants, Animals, Global Warming, Researchers Advise

AUSTIN, Texas — Global warming is clearly affecting plants and animals, but we should not try to tease apart the specific contribution of greenhouse gas driven climate change to extinctions or declines of species at local scales, biologists from The University of Texas at Austin advise.

Camille Parmesan, Michael C. Singer and their coauthors published their commentary online this week in Nature Climate Change.

“Yes, global warming is happening. Yes, it is caused by human activities. And yes, we’ve clearly shown that species are impacted by global warming on a global scale,” says Parmesan, associate professor of integrative biology. (more…)

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She Flies On . . . and On . . . and On

*Oldest known wild bird in U.S. returns to Midway to raise chick*

MIDWAY ATOLL —   The oldest known U.S. wild bird – a coyly conservative 60 — is a new mother.

The bird, a Laysan albatross named Wisdom, was spotted a few weeks ago with a chick by John Klavitter, a U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service biologist and the deputy manager of the Midway Atoll National Wildlife Refuge.

The bird has sported and worn out 5 bird bands since she was first banded by U.S. Geological Survey scientist Chandler Robbins in 1956 as she incubated an egg. Chandler rediscovered Wisdom in 2001. In 1956, he estimated Wisdom to be at least 5 years old then since this is the earliest age at which these birds breed, though they more typically breed at 8 or 9 after an involved courtship lasting several years.  This means, of course, that Wisdom is likely to be in her early sixties. (more…)

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