Why go to New York to see a big ol' boring apple descend from the heights this New Year's Eve? If I had a choice tonight I'd be in Prairie du Chien, Wisconsin, ringing in 2005 with the annual dropping of the carp. Yes, that's right folks, tonight Lucky the Carp, a 29 pound frozen fish, will mark the new year with a hundred foot drop. Other town festivities include the breaking of the Carp Pinata, a concert by Larry and the Carpettes, and the crowning of the Carp King and Queen. Read about it all in the Wisconsin State Journal, see photos of past years here, and find out more about the history of this bizarre event here.
Friday, December 31, 2004
Wednesday, December 29, 2004
NPR has this audio report about the aftermath of Florida's hurricane season, with respect to invasive species. Scientists are worried that natural disturbance caused by hurricanes will lead to even more rapid invasion of the environment by non-native plants, and are calling for a management plan to ensure that the state is better equipped to deal with the after effects of this cyclic destruction.
Tuesday, December 28, 2004
As reported by the Detroit Free Press, there is a study, due out in its full form next year, that concludes that efforts to stop the flow of invasive species into the Great Lakes system have failed. The author of the study, Gary Fahnenstiel, is advocating closing the Welland Canal that connects Lake Erie to Lake Ontario. Could it really be that easy to prevent new invasions? Well, from an environmental standpoint, yes. Add economics to the mix and there is suddenly no clear solution.
Z*lda from Mute Complications also points us to this excellent article from the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel, about Asian carp in Lake Michigan. It's part of a series, so be sure to check out the links in the right-hand column.
Monday, December 27, 2004
Sunday, December 26, 2004
The Leonard Lopate Show at WNYC had an interesting feature last Thursday about the cane toad (Bufo marinus) invasion in Australia. You can listen to a rebroadcast of the show in Real Audio by clicking on the link on this page. Do so, if only to hear the excellent Aussie accents :-)
Thanks to Val C. for sending in a link to this story.
Friday, December 24, 2004
An electric company in Virginia may provide the state with an interesting opportunity for invasive species outreach. According to this article from the Richmond-Times Dispatch, Dominion Virginia Power has offered to include a brochure about Virginia invaders in one of its bills. Not sure how well this meshes with the push for customers to switch to online billing, but the article states that the brochure would reach 2 million customers.
Thanks to a member of the Long Island Nature Conservacy for sending a link to this story.
Thursday, December 23, 2004
Interesting article from the New York Times about the South American monk parakeets (Myiopsitta monachus) that have surprised some by establishing populations in the colder climates of places like Connecticut and Quebec. If you're interested in learning more about these invasive birds, I recommend the following two excellent ISW posts from guest blogger Jason South: 1, 2.
Wednesday, December 22, 2004
New Zealand is having big troubles with didymo algae (Didymosphenia geminata). According to this article from stuff.co.nz, the freshwater algae is spreading in rivers in the southern part of the country. The government instigated a law back in 1993 fining fishermen who knowingly spread the algae, but that doesn't seem to have stopped its progression.
The article refers to the algae's North American name as "rock snot," though from what I can tell, that is just general slang for the slippery coating on any wet rock. Bonus points go to Stuff anyway, for using the algae's scientific name.
Tuesday, December 21, 2004
In honor of my yearly holiday trip to Pennsylvania, I bring you this article from PennState Live, about the impending arrival of soybean rust (Phakopsora pachyrhizi) here in PA. The article provides a nice summary of the proactive stance of state scientists and agricultural officials.
Monday, December 20, 2004
The Louisiana Aquatic Invasive Species Task Force has come out with a draft of their state management plan for aquatic invasives. You've got about a month left if you would like to make comments. Read the report here, or check out the press release here.
Saturday, December 18, 2004
Scientists using large plastic tarps to eradicate the invasive marine algae Caulerpa taxifolia have run into an unexpected problem (isn't that always the way?). The tarps, which were only meant to be temporary, have become habitat for some native species, including eelgrass (Zostera marina). Now the California Coastal Commission needs to decide whether to leave the tarps in place or remove them and once again displace the natives. You can listen to the full story by clicking on the link on this NPR web page.
Friday, December 17, 2004
Keeping it local again today...The Boston Globe has an interesting story about one of the unintended consequences of the removal of the elevated green line tracks near the North ("Nawth") End in Boston. It seems humans are not the only ones appreciating the new view - starlings (Sturnus vulgaris) have decided the area's historic buildings make ideal roosting spots. Shopowners in the area are not happy about the daily coating of guano their windows and sidewalks are receiving. MBTA and Big Dig bigwigs have been given a tour of the mess, but no one's ready to claim responsibility for dealing with the issue.
Thursday, December 16, 2004
...but I can certainly sympathize with the geranium farmer in Berlin, MA who lost about $200,000 this year when the USDA suspected that he may have geraniums infected with southern bacterial wilt (Ralstonia solanacearum r3b2). As reported by TheBostonChannel.com, the Department of Homeland Security invoked the Bioterrorism Protection Act and told Bruce Bartlett to incinerate 8500 plants. While Bartlett Greenhouse's starter plants came from the same company that sold an infected plant to a grower in New York, the disease was never found on any of Bartlett's geraniums. A more detailed report is available from Boston.com.
Update: Sadly, Mr. Bartlett apparently passed away less than a week after this story broke. My sympathies go out to the Barlett family.
Wednesday, December 15, 2004
Regarding last week's blog entry about the fire ant-infested plant bought by an Oklahoma resident at the local Walmart: Turns out it wasn't a bulb at all, as originally reported. If you visit the web page from ChannelOklahoma.com, there is a video of the original news story. The reporter mentions that it was the root ball and soil of a pine tree (not a plant bulb) in which the ants were found. Though the video is very blurry, it looks like the tree may be a Norfolk pine (Araucaria heterophylla). The report ends with a recommendation that, if you buy a plant "the first thing you should do when you get home is..." inspect the plant and the soil for insects. I'm thinking that if you live in the area, where those ants were found, you don't really want to wait until you get home to do that.
Tuesday, December 14, 2004
This pathogen really gets around...the Shropshire Star has a great investigative report about the discovery of sudden oak death (Phytophthora ramorum) throughout Britain. Plants infected with the fungus-like pathogen include both nursery stock and forest species. Researchers have sprung into action across the country, and are currently conducting assessments to determine the extent of SOD spread and damage.
Bonus points to the Shropshire Star for using scientific names.
Monday, December 13, 2004
NY Newsday is reporting that New Jersey is about to sacrifice thousands of maple trees in an effort to prevent the spread of the Asian longhorn beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis). The wood-boring beetles were first found in New Jersey back in 2002. Officials are especially concerned because some forests in Northern New Jersey are 70% maple.
Sunday, December 12, 2004
Recently published journal articles:
- "Tolerance and bioaccumulation of cadmium by Phragmites australis grown in the presence of elevated concentrations of cadmium, copper, and zinc" by Nadia Ait Alia, M. Pilar Bernalb and Mohammed Ater. Aquatic Botany. 80(3), pp. 163-176
- "Nuclear rDNA and internal transcribed spacer sequences clarify Caulerpa racemosa vars. from other Caulerpa species" by Wen-Ji and Gen-Yuan Chen. Aquatic Botany. 80(3), pp. 193-207.
- "Understanding the Causes of Disease in European Freshwater Crayfish" by BRETT F. EDGERTON, PAULA HENTTONEN, JAPO JUSSILA, ARI MANNONEN, PIETARI PAASONEN, TROND TAUGBØL, LENNART EDSMAN, AND CATHERINE SOUTY-GROSSET. Conservation Biology. 18(6), pp. 1466+ (crayfish plague, Aphanomyces astaci)
- "Potential Ecological Distribution of Alien Invasive Species and Risk Assessment: a Case Study of Buffel Grass in Arid Regions of Mexico" by LAURA ARRIAGA, ALEJANDRO E. CASTELLANOS V., ELIZABETH MORENO, AND JESÚS ALARCÓN. Conservation Biology. 18(6), pp. 1504+ (Cenchrus ciliaris)
- "Influence of Temporal Scale of Sampling on Detection of Relationships between Invasive Plants and the Diversity Patterns of Plants and Butterflies" by RALPH MAC NALLY, ERICA FLEISHMAN, AND DENNIS D. MURPHY. Conservation Biology. 18(6), pp. 1525+
Saturday, December 11, 2004
Dave Thompson, a researcher at New Mexico State University, has a novel way of surveying plots to track salt cedar (Tamarix spp.) invasion. As reported by South Farm Press, Thompson attaches a digital camera to a kite and flies the apparatus a few hundred feet off the ground. The aerial view data is being collected to measure the impact of leaf beetles as a biological control on the invasive saltcedar biological control.
Friday, December 10, 2004
The "killer algae" (Caulerpa taxifolia) and its lesser-known cousin C. racemosa are making their presence known in Croatia. According to this report from Reuters, large patches of the algae are showing up all over the Croatian side of the Adriatic Sea, threatening tourism as well as marine biodiversity. The two species apparently arrived in the area during the mid-1990s, and now cover hundreds of acres. Interested readers may also want to check out this article, translated from French by Google, about the same species.
Bonus points to Reuters for using scientific names.
Thursday, December 09, 2004
Presumably while no one was looking, Maryland environmental officials got U.S. Representative Wayne Gilchrest to remove a major barrier to mute swan (Cygnus olor) control in that state. As reported by WJZ News, Gilchrest "slipped" language into a bill that keeps the swans from being protected under the Migratory Bird Treaty Act. Then the "Migratory Bird Treaty Reform Act of 2004" managed to make its way into the omnibus spending bill that recently passed the House. WJZ also links to a video version of the story.
Tuesday, December 07, 2004
The Oklahoma Department of Agriculture is investigating the apparent transport of fire ants into the state. According to this story from ChannelOklahoma.com, a family bought a plant bulb from their local Walmart, only to have the mother be attacked by fire ants in the soil when she tried to repot it. The article does not indicate the species of plant the stinging insects were found in, and scientists have yet to confirm the ant species (they could be red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) or little fire ants (Wasmannia auropunctata), among other species). If they are indeed fire ants, Walmart's plant distributor could be fined.
Monday, December 06, 2004
Weather conditions in California has caused ants to swarm into residences and businesses, according to this report at KTLA5. It is suspected that most of the home invasions are by Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) October was rather rainy, and November was cold, and the combination apparently sent some signal to millions of the insects to pick up and find new homes. Argentine ants are thought to be more persistent than native California ant species about settling down in human-built structures.
Bonus points to the author of the article for using the scientific name.
Sunday, December 05, 2004
ARS News is reporting that their scientists have found the first known virus to infect the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta). The virus, in the Dicistroviridae family, has been given the creative name Solenopsis invicta virus-1 (SINV-1). I guess they are hoping to find more :-)
Saturday, December 04, 2004
Back in May 2003 I posted about Argentine ants (Linepithema humile) invading Rotorua, New Zealand. That was on the North Island of New Zealand...now comes news from Scoop that the ants are causing problems on the South Island, too. Officials in Christchurch are asking residents to contact insect pest professionals if they think they have an Argentine ant infestation. There's even a hotline set up by the Department of Conservation for people to report ant sightings.
Thanks to Val C. for sending in the link to this story.
Friday, December 03, 2004
The Quebecois have extended a not-so-gracious welcome to their newest invader: the Chinese mitten crab (Eriocheir sinensis). According to this report from the CBC, scientists think the crab, which needs both fresh and salt water to reproduce, is likely to spread through the St. Lawrence River. This species is already quite well-known in California.
Thursday, December 02, 2004
MaineToday.com is reporting that Maine just became the last of the 48 continental United States to report the presence of Eurasian water milfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum) [Hmmm...looks like the USDA PLANTS database has a bit of catching up to do.]. The invasive aquatic plant was found in a quarry back in October. Officials are relieved that this is not a recreational site, meaning that they don't have to worry about boaters spreading the plant all over the state. Various control options are currently being considered.
Wednesday, December 01, 2004
This article from ABC News Australia is noteworthy because it mentions the word "poo" not once, but seven times. The report is about a new DNA test that offers researchers a quick and easy way to tell if the scat they've found belongs to a European red fox (Vulpes vulpes) or to some other mammal. The red fox was introduced to Australia for hunting back in the mid-1800s, and has since gone on to establish multiple feral populations.
Thanks to a member of the ALIENS-L listserver for posting this story.
Tuesday, November 30, 2004
ABC News Australia has a story about the observed adaptations in Australian snake species following the introduction of the cane toad (Bufo marinus) to the continent. Cane toads are poisonous, and the inability of snakes to recognize this has lead to selection for snakes with smaller head to body size ratios (larger relative head size --> eating larger toads --> too much poison for body size --> death). The research was just published in Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences - read the abstract or download a paper (.pdf) of related research by the same authors.
Monday, November 29, 2004
Craftmakers in western North Carolina have won back the right to make and sell products using the invasive Asiatic bittersweet vine (Celastrus orbiculatus), according to this report from the Ashville Citizen Times. Their argument? That 18 western NC counties were already so infested with the weed, there would be no benefit seen from outlawing the use of it in wreath-making and dried flower arrangments. The NC Agricultural Board banned the distribution of Asiatic bittersweet back in 2003. Read the original press release here.
Sunday, November 28, 2004
Recently published journal articles:
- "A global invader at home: population structure of the green crab, Carcinus maenas, in Europe" by Joe Roman and Stephen R. Palumbi. Molecular Ecology. 13(10), pp. 2891+
- "Pleistocene glaciation is implicated in the phylogeographical structure of Potamopyrgus antipodarum, a New Zealand snail" by Maurine Newman and Curtis M. Lively. Molecular Ecology. 13(10), pp. 3085+. (New Zealand mud snail [Potamopyrgus antipodarum])
- "Somatic mutation-mediated evolution of herbicide resistance in the nonindigenous invasive plant hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata)" by ALBRECHT MICHEL, RENEE S. ARIAS, BRIAN E. SCHEFFLER, STEPHEN O. DUKE, MICHAEL NETHERLAND and FRANCK E. DAYAN. Molecular Ecology. 13(10), pp. 3229+
- "FISH INVASION RESTRUCTURES STREAM AND FOREST FOOD WEBS BY INTERRUPTING RECIPROCAL PREY SUBSIDIES" by Colden V. Baxter, Kurt D. Fausch, Masashi Murakami, and Phillip L. Chapman. Ecology. 85(10), pp. 2656-2663. (impact of rainbow trout [Oncorhynchus mykiss] in Japan)
- "AN INVASIVE PLANT PROMOTES UNSTABLE HOST–PARASITOID PATCH DYNAMICS" by James T. Cronin and Kyle J. Haynes. Ecology. 85(10), pp. 2772-2782. (impact of smooth brome [Bromus inermis])
Saturday, November 27, 2004
When researchers first identified a new species of sea squirt (Didemnum sp.) in Georges Bank, it covered about 6 square miles of the ocean floor. Well folks, that was about one year ago. Current estimates indicate that the invasive tunicate now covers at least 40 square miles. MaineToday.com has the full story.
Friday, November 26, 2004
The New Zealand mud snail (Potamopyrgus antipodarum) has made an appearance in Boulder, Colorado, according to this new entry in the NAS Database. This is the first record of the invasive snail in that state, but perhaps it was inevitable, as the species is now found all over the Pacific Northwest. You may also want to check out this recent article from the Bozeman Daily Chronicle in Montana, about NZMS populations in Yellowstone.
Thursday, November 25, 2004
Introduced iguana (Iguana iguana) populations in Lee County, Florida have increased to levels such that the county is now holding public meetings about the problem. Acording to this report from the Boca Beacon, public consensus is definitely that the iguanas must be removed. Unfortunately there are no easy answers here, especially as the Animal Services department maintains that their jurisdiction covers only domesticated animals, not exotic species like the iguana. Though there was this odd offer by a man who has apparently dealt with similar problems in Arizona and California.
Thanks to a member of the ALIENS-L listserver for posting this story.
Wednesday, November 24, 2004
The beetles discovered in the wooden trunks of artificial Christmas trees last week (see previous ISW post) have been named: the brown fir longhorn beetle (Callidiellum villosulum) and the Japanese cedar longhorn beetle (Callidiellum rufipenne). I'm not sure if they actually found both species or are just unable to confirm ID beyond the genus - read the USDA APHIS note here. Also, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch has published an informative article about the unpublicized recall of trees, including an interview with the woman in Michigan who first discovered the beetles.
Monday, November 22, 2004
The Northwest Indiana Times is reporting that a silver carp (Hypophthalmichthys molitrix) was found last week in the Chicago Sanitary and Ship Canal, a mere two miles south of the temporary electrical barrier set up to prevent carp from entering Lake Michigan. Though the carp was dead when it was discovered, officials are still very concerned about finding the fish so close to the Great Lakes system. You can view the specimen record here.
Sunday, November 21, 2004
Here's a potentially untapped volunteer resource: ScienceBlog has a story about prisoners in Florida becoming certified to rear insects for biological control. One of the candidate species is Gratiana boliviana, a beetle that feasts upon the leaves of the tropical soda apple (Solanum viarum).
Thanks to a member of the ALIENS-L listserver for posting this story.
Saturday, November 20, 2004
There is a story today at asahi.com about black bass (Micropterus sp.) causing a decline in native bird populations in Japan. The bass are eating up all the smaller fish, the chief food source of wetland bird species. Researchers are also concerned that the popularity of sport fishing has lead to increased disturbance of the nesting sites of wetland birds.
Tip of the virtual hat to stercus for posting about this story.
Friday, November 19, 2004
If you're near Lake Forbes, New South Wales, this weekend, be sure to check out the carp-a-thon. As reported by the Forbes Advocate, the goal of this Aussie event is to reduce the number of the non-native fish in the lake. Lucky fishermen and fisherwomen will receive prizes for the best catches. If the program is successful, there are plans to turn the lake into a breeding area for rare native species.
Thursday, November 18, 2004
Are introduced boa constrictors (Boa constrictor) responsible for the near extinction of the Cozumel thrasher (Toxostoma guttatum)? Scientists may never have known, had one of them not discovered one of the endemic island birds, after almost a decade of wondering whether the species had perished. The Times Leader is reporting that Dr. Robert L. Curry hopes to study nesting sites of the thrasher to determine whether boa predation is a threat. Thrasher populations tanked around 1988, after Hurricane Gilbert passed over the island.
Thanks to Val C. for sending in the link.
Wednesday, November 17, 2004
Last week the ISW posted about the arrival of soybean rust (Phakopsora pachyrhizi, P. meibomiae) in the US. Now Reuters is reporting that the fungus has been found in three states: Louisiana, Mississippi and Florida. Other southeastern states are sure to follow. Thanks, Ivan.
Tuesday, November 16, 2004
The Bureau County Republican is reporting that APHIS inspectors called to an Ace Hardware warehouse in Princeton, Illinois may have found a nasty early Christmas present. Following a complaint from a customer in Michigan, who found a beetle in the wooden trunk of a recently purchased artificial Christmas tree, the Michigan Department of Agriculture contacted APHIS officials. The team dispatched to the Ace warehouse discovered what they think is a Japanese cedar longhorned beetle (Callidiellum rufipenne). Identification is still being confirmed, but if this is a foreign critter, expect a national recall along the lines of last year's potpourri fiasco.
Monday, November 15, 2004
Interesting article from the Anchorage Daily News about the preventative measures undertaken on the islands of St. Paul and St. George to keep Norway rats (Rattus norvegicus) from invading. The threat of introduction is fairly constant given the number of boats and ships that pass by on their way to and from Alaska. A key worry is that ships will accidentally run aground or be shipwrecked in the area.
Sunday, November 14, 2004
There are three excellent* new web resources available for those of you in Northeast North America that are concerned about aquatic and wetland invasive species. The Northeast Aquatic Nuisance Species Panel (NEANS) recently debuted a page with links to the many different priority nuisance species lists for the region, as well as a page listing control technologies for a select list of those species. Finally, there is now a web version of a research poster presented last year, comparing invasive plant species lists among the New England states.
* I designed these pages, so take the word "excellent" as you will :-).
Friday, November 12, 2004
Residents of Long Island City, New York now have a new way to protect the state against the spread of the wood-boring Asian longhorned beetle (Anoplophora glabripennis). As reported by the Queens Chronicle, the city's Parks Department is offering free chipping and disposal services for tree prunings, firewood and other primary woody materials. The article has information about how to arrange for the wood shredding services by phone or online.
In a related story, the city of Vaughan, Ontario is giving away free mulch this Saturday to help protect local trees. The mulching program was developed to increase communication between the government and city residents affected by Asian longhorned beetle infestations.
Thursday, November 11, 2004
Back in August of 2003, the ISW posted a story about U.S. concern about the spread of soybean rust (Phakopsora pachyrhizi, P. meibomiae) in Brazil. Now comes news from the USDA that the fungus was discovered last week at a Louisiana State University research farm. A USDA soybean rust detection assessment team is on the scene to, well, assess the situation. Bonus points to the USDA for using the rust's scientific name in the press release.
Thanks to a member of the ALIENS-L listserver for posting this story.
Wednesday, November 10, 2004
Tuesday, November 09, 2004
An AP article about salt marsh cord grass (Spartina alterniflora) invading San Francisco Bay is currently making the rounds. Seems the species is spreading a lot faster than even those anticipating its invasion had expected. For more on salt marsh cord grass from the ISW, search the archive.
Sunday, November 07, 2004
Recently published journal articles:
- "Invasion of Agave species (Agavaceae) in south-east Spain: invader demographic parameters and impacts on native species" by Ernesto I. Badano and Francisco I. Pugnaire. Diversity & Distributions. 10(5-6), pp. 493+ (.pdf link on page)
- "A new species of sea anemone from Chile, Anemonia alicemartinae n. sp. (Cnidaria: Anthozoa). An invader or an indicator for environmental change in shallow water?" by Verena Häussermanna and Günter Försterraa. Organisms Diversity & Evolution. 1(3), pp. 211-224.
- "Modelling the distribution and interaction of introduced rodents on New Zealand offshore islands" by James C. Russell and Mick N. Clout. Global Ecology & Biogeography. 13(6), pp. 497+
Saturday, November 06, 2004
Science Blog has this story about using Russian thistle (Salsola tragus, a tumbleweed not related to the true thistles) and other weeds to suck up depleted uranium from contaminated soil. Sounds good, but then what do they use to suck up all of the Russian thistle? :-)
Friday, November 05, 2004
Weather loaches (Misgurnus anguillicaudatus) were my favorite fish to buy for our tropical aquarium when I was growing up. I thought it was neat because they buried themselves in the gravel and went crazy when the barometric pressure changed. After a few months of not seeing one, we would root around in the gravel, but could never find any trace of it. So I wonder how the heck someone found a weather loach in a wetland in Oregon, as reported here (from the NAS Alert System). Apparently the fish have escaped from fish farms and have also been used as bait. The fact that this species can handle low dissolved oxygen levels probably makes it a prime candidate to populate disturbed, eutrophic bodies of water.
Thursday, November 04, 2004
There's a new book out about the monk parakeet (Myiopsitta monachus) and its place in urban habitats. "Parrots in the City, One Bird's Struggle for a Place on the Planet" sounds like it is going to leaning way towards the pro-parrot side. For balance, you may want to peruse these excellent ISW posts from guest blogger Jason South: Monk Parakeets I and Monk Parakeets II. "Parrots in the City" is also available here as an ebook.
Wednesday, November 03, 2004
Brahminy worms (Ramphotyphlops braminus) are a tropical species of snake, so what the heck are they doing way up in Minnesota? Yard & Garden Line News has the story. Biologists think they hitchhiked over in the soil of a potted plant. The Asian snakes are established in Florida and Hawaii but are not thought to pose a threat in Minnesota, because it would be difficult for them to survive the chilly winters. Unfortunately the reptiles are parthenogenetic, meaning that they don't need males to reproduce.
Tuesday, November 02, 2004
The Honolulu Star Bulletin has a nice story about Hawaiian clothing artist Anna Peach. Anna uses many of the islands' alien plants to build unique sculptures of dresses, shoes and corsets. Anna says some people want to wear her work, but she knows that could contribute to the further spread of the invasives from which she harvests seed. See examples of Anna's work here, or visit her studio web page.
Monday, November 01, 2004
Looks like that Mexican town I blogged about last week has given up the fight against a huge rat infestation. Atascaderos officials are now saying the town's inhabitants will just have to learn to live with the long-tailed critters - all 250,000 of them. Again, Cat Out Loud blog has gone on quite a rant...head on over there for a good read. Here's the link to a report from BBC News as well.
Saturday, October 30, 2004
Right now only the Mediterranean clone of the marine alga Caulerpa taxifolia is a federally listed noxious weed (.pdf). Do you think the entire species should be listed, or even the entire genus of Caulerpa? More than one hundred scientists and concerned citizens have signed petitions to this effect, and now there is a sixty day comment period for anyone to weigh in with his/her opinion. Details are here.
Thursday, October 28, 2004
USA Today has this report about the sale of invasive plants and noxious weeds via the internet. Not much new here, but a good summary. It remians true that the responsibility of checking whether a non-native species is invasive or even illegal to own is frequently placed on the consumer. Also, the U.S. is in need of a better way for sellers to keep up with which states have lists and when those lists are updated. So congrats to all you consumers out there reading this for furthering your education!
Monday, October 25, 2004
Seems our native Canada goldenrod (Solidago canadensis) has secretly been vacationing in the Orient. As reported by china.org, the goldenrod has been used an an ornamental in China since the 1930s, and has since escaped into the wild and become invasive. Researchers, noting its propensity to displace native plants, are calling for its eradication. Bonus points to China Daily for using the plant's scientific name.
Sunday, October 24, 2004
Michigan's emerald ash borer beetle ( Agrilus planipennis) invasion has been restricted to only the most southeastern parts of the state...until now. The Traverse City Record-Eagle is reporting that a beetle infestation was found in a group of ash trees in Petroskey, a city in Emmet County that is on the northwest tip of the lower half of the state. State workers are currently developing a response plan, which is likely to include removal of all ash trees in the area.
Saturday, October 23, 2004
A mussel from South America recently reappeared in Florida, according to this NAS alert. An established population of the Charru mussel (Mytella charruana), which has not been seen in Florida since 1986, has been discovered on a dock in Mosquito Lagoon. Not much information about this species on the internet, here's hoping it doesn't turn out to be the next zebra mussel.
Friday, October 22, 2004
CNN International has this report about the naturalization of the Burmese python (Python molarus bivittatus) in the Florida Everglades. Scientists think the snakes, which can live more than two decades, were released by people who no longer wanted them as pets. Now breeding populations have been found, and no one's sure what the impact will be, though it's likely to be bad for the birds and small mammals, and good for the hungry alligators.
Thursday, October 21, 2004
Wednesday, October 20, 2004
The Cuban tree frog (Osteopilus septentrionalis) seems to be expanding its North American range, according to this report from CNN. This is potentially bad news for Georgia, which is thought to have remained Cuban tree frog-free for almost a century after the species was introduced to Florida. Scientists had previously thought the northern limit for the species was Jacksonville, Florida - 120 miles south. The amphibian, now the largest tree frog on the continent, thrives in human-altered habitats like fish ponds, porches, and wells. Bonus points to the Georgia woman who discovered the fist-sized frog by her pond, identified it online, and then caught it and preserved it in a bottle of alcohol.
What does baseball have to do with this story? Uh, nothing, heh heh, heh heh (Go Sox!).
Tuesday, October 19, 2004
Tonight at 10pm EST, a photo I took will appear briefly in Law & Order: SVU, in an episode titled "Scavenger"...or, someone has played a bizarre practical joke on me. Either way, I am bragging about it here in the ISW because the photo is of an invasive plant. When I came across the species in Italy back in 1999, my guide book called it Himalayan balsam, but in the U.S. it is known more frequently by the name "Policeman's Helmet" (which likely explains it's inclusion in the episode). A large annual plant, Impatiens glandulifera is native to the Himalayas, and invasive in Europe, the western U.S. and Canada. You can see my photo of the flower, whose shape resembles that of the old-style British policeman's helmet, by going here and scrolling down to the bottom of the page.
Monday, October 18, 2004
Saturday, October 16, 2004
Time is running out, but you still have one day left to register for my "Vectors of Invasion" lecture at Garden in the Woods in Framingham, MA. Topics covered will include the past, present, and future of plant invasions, and how plants are introduced vs. how they spread. The lecture will be held this Monday, Oct. 18, from 7-9pm, and you have to register in advance, so call the New England Wildflower Society at 508-877-7630, ext. 3303. or email them at "registrar AT newfs.org" If you can't make this one, the link above describes two more talks I'll be giving in November and December.
Friday, October 15, 2004
From Reuters comes this odd blurb about the potential release of crocodiles in Israel. Hundreds of baby African crocodiles were stolen from a farm that breeds them for their skins. While the goal of the robbers was likely to sell the babies as pets to Israelis, officials are concerned that some of the crocs will be released into local lakes and rivers, where they will be a potential cause of harm for humans and animals alike. It is illegal to own a crocodile as a pet in Israel. You can read more about this story from Haaretz.com.
Thursday, October 14, 2004
This is my fourth post about snakeheads this month, but how could I avoid reporting that the Northern snakehead (Channa argus) has been found in Chicago? The email about it arrived in my inbox today via the NAS Alert System - you can view the specimen record here. The adult fish was found in Lake Michigan, a first for Illinois and a first for the Great Lakes ecosystem. Of course the story is making the media rounds, with liberal use of words like "Frankenfish" and "terror." Read about it in the Chicago Sun-Times, the Duluth News-Tribune, or MLive.com.
Wednesday, October 13, 2004
The Noxious Weed Control Act is just a few steps away from being signed into law. The NWCA, also known as S. 144, creates a program under the Secretary of Agriculture that will provide federal assistance (read: $$) to weed management agencies fighting noxious weeds. Spearheaded by Idaho Senator Larry Craig, the bill was passed unanimously by the Senate, and is now on its way to President Bush...no word on whether he plans to sign it or not. You can read the full press release here.
For this bill, "Noxious Weed" is defined as it was in the Plant Protection Act (pdf) passed in 2000: "The term ‘‘noxious weed’’ means any plant or plant product that can directly or indirectly injure or cause damage to crops (including nursery stock or plant products), livestock, poultry, or other interests of agriculture, irrigation, navigation, the natural resources of the United States, the public health, or the environment." So while it is likely that a great amount of resources would go towards agricultural weeds (this was wholeheartedly supported by Idaho after all), projects involving threatened natural resources would also qualify.
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
Looks like the West coast is dealing with their own sea squirt invasion. As reported by the Seattle Post Intelligencer, a colony of Didemnum lahillei was recently discovered in Edmonds Underwater Park, located in Puget Sound. This is apparently the same species of sea squirt found in the East coast's Georges Bank last year. Divers have been enlisted to isolate the tunicates with plastic and dispence chlorine tablets to eradicate them. Bonus points to the Post-Intelligencer for using the sea squirt's scientific name.
Monday, October 11, 2004
Seems there's more to the multiflora rose (Rosa multiflora) than its weedy ways. According to this report from IndyStar.com, a mite that is found on multiflora rose is causing garden roses to keel over. The tiny wingless Eriophyoid mite (Phyllocoptes fructiphilus) is a vector for rose rosette disease (RRD), which affects multiflora rose and has spread to planted rose species as well. There is no known cure once a plant is infected. The organism that causes RRD was once considered for use as a biological control of the multiflora rose.
Sunday, October 10, 2004
Last night I watched "Snakehead Terror" and about half of "Frankenfish" on the Sci-Fi Channel. That's 3 hours of my life I'll never get back :-( "Snakehead Terror" starred Bruce 'I'll never get another role like the one I had on B5' Boxleitner, and was about a lake that sounded a lot like Crofton Pond in Maryland. After poisoning the pond ruined the livelihood of many of the town's businesspeople, a few of them got together and decided to add Human Growth Hormone to the water to speed up the growth of the new fish. Unfortunately there were rotenone-resistant snakeheads still in the lake, and HGH caused them to grow eight feet long and to crave human flesh. "Frankenfish" seemed to be about an ecccentric trophy hunter who paid Asian gangmembers (Snakeheads?) to release a gigantic snakehead into the swamps of New Orleans. I'm not exactly sure though, because I fell asleep after the second houseboat owner met his demise :-).
Saturday, October 09, 2004
The Premier of Taiwan announced earlier in the week that he wants red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) eradicated from that country by 2007. As reported by CNA News, a team made up of members from several different government agencies will be assembled to unertake this great task.
Friday, October 08, 2004
Last April the ISW posted about the removal of Himalayan tahrs (Hemitragus jemlahicus) from a mountain in South Africa. Now IOL is reporting that the tahrs are all gone, a fact which has upset the International Fund for Animal Welfare. Seems the IFAW was hoping to help save the remaining animals by moving them to a safe haven, but was told that it was already too late.
Thanks to a member of the ALIENS-L listserver for posting a link to this story.
Thursday, October 07, 2004
Many news sources, including the Detroit Free Press, are reporting that the House of Representatives has approved funding for a permanent electrical barrier to keep Asian carp out of the Great Lakes. The measure passed allows the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to spend more than $8 million to finish the construction project, which was started several months ago. Apparently they needed a bit more money than the $4 million the Army Corps almost took away a while back.
Wednesday, October 06, 2004
Expat.telegraph is reporting that there is a new invasive insect in the UK, one "with the potential to wipe out half of Britain's native species." And this species is...a ladybug? Yes, the Asian lady beetle, also known as the Harlequin ladybird beetle (Harmonia axyridis), was discovered a couple of weeks ago in a garden in Britain. The article is referring to the loss of native ladybug species, by the way, not the whole of the UK's flora and fauna. Scientists hypothesized that the beetle was blown across the English Channel by the wind. Read more about Asian ladybugs from previous ISW posts.
Tuesday, October 05, 2004
From the absurdly gigantic to the tiny, and dare I say, cute? Just because it faded away from the front page, doesn't mean the snakehead problem in the Potomac River has gone away. The Washington Post is now reporting that a 3-inch-young northern snakehead (Channa argus) has been discovered near Alexandria, Virginia, an indiciation that the species in breeding in the wild. For background about the Potomac invasion from the ISW, click here.
Thanks to a member of the ALIENS-L listserver for a heads up about this story.
Monday, October 04, 2004
Sci-Fi Channel is at it again. Not content with it's own version of snakehead fish (Channa spp.) gone wild, this weekend they're airing "Frankenfish," a charming tale about escaped mutated fish that attack houseboats in a Louisiana bayou. Don't worry, if you missed Sci-Fi's "Snakehead Terror" a few months back, they'll be airing it again right before the "Frankenfish" premiere.
Sunday, October 03, 2004
The National Wildlife Federation and eNature recently debuted their Native Gardening and Invasive Plants Guide. In it, you'll not only find lists of known and potential invasive plants in your state, but also lists of native species you might find to be better alternatives for your own garden. The listmakers have apparently erred on the side of caution, as there are a few species on the Massachusetts list that are either not likely to be planted (dodder? perennial pepperweed?) or to be invasive here (melaleuca?), but this is nonetheless a great resource.
Thanks to a member of the ALIENS-L listserver for posting a link to the story.
Saturday, October 02, 2004
The Yard & Garden Line News, an informative e-newsletter put out by the University of Minnesota Extension Service, has an interesting feature this month, about three different pests that have recently shown up in yards & gardens. Click on the link to read about two insects and a species of slug that appear to be new to the Minnesota landscape.
Friday, October 01, 2004
The invasion of Japanese knotweed (Fallopia japonica, Polygonum cuspidatum, etc.) at a landfill in Orleans, Massachusetts is about to become a lot more than just a nuisance. According this story from The Cape Codder, the town is set to start taking bids to have the landfill capped. Unfortunately, one of the most amazing and annoying things about knotweed is that it can grow right through things like concrete and asphalt. So capping the landfill with a clay liner is likely to leave it susceptible to damage as the knotweed breaks through. The article says most of the knotweed has been removed with a combination of herbicide application, drying out, and cutting - here's hoping they've done a thorough job.
Thursday, September 30, 2004
According to this story from National Geographic, North American bullfrogs (Rana catesbeiana) are taking over the world. Ok, that's not exactly what they are saying, but the article does point out that these amphibians have established and increasing populations on several other continents. And that's not good for the native frogs or for the insects and other creatures that make up the bullfrog's diet.
Wednesday, September 29, 2004
If you've been looking to do some community service on a beautiful tropical island, and you have your own rifle, this may be perfect for you: Hawaii Volcanoes National Park is looking for volunteers to help cull feral Mouflon sheep (Ovis musimon) from a newly purchased tract of land on Hawai`i Island. As reported at boston.com, the project is expected to go on indefinitely, and there is no limit to the number of sheep you can take. The sheep were brought to the Kahuku Ranch for hunting back in the 1960's, and their population now numbers in the thousands.
Tuesday, September 28, 2004
Floods in North Carolina caused by the recent barrage of rain-soaked hurricane remnants may have led to accidental releases of sterile grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella). As reported by The Charlotte Observer, some of the fish, used in lakes to control the aquatic invasive plant hydrilla (Hydrilla verticillata), are likely to have taken the opportunity to head downstream when high water levels made their escape from the lakes possible. Interestingly, the focus of this story is more on the fact that the fish are an expensive loss, rather than what dozens of hungry carp are going to eat once they find themselves in a river that is hydrilla-free.
Monday, September 27, 2004
Interesting idea in New Zealand: according to this report from Scoop, surveilance in urban areas is a great way to discover new invasive insects. Seems urban and suburban areas often harbor "sleeper cells" of non-native insects that have become locally established but are not yet widespread. Garden pests, for example, are frequently non-native. Scientists are interested in setting up a standardized monitoring program to catch the alien bugs before they become serious pests.
Sunday, September 26, 2004
MichNews.com has yet another diatribe about the threat to property rights caused by invasive species science. In this version, Peyton Knight talks about how the current version of the Senate's Federal Transportation Bill (S. 1072) has a provision to allow the government to manage private property if it is shown to have an invasive plant on it. Normally the ISW presents stories without bias (other than the occasional snarky comment), but here are some issues I have with this opinion piece:
- Invasive species, indeed any weedy species, don't give a hoot about your property boundaries. Sometimes things that happen on your property affect others, and it's not fair to say tough luck just because you own that plot of land. I'm sorry, but if someone notices that a bunch of trees on your property are infested with Asian longhorn beetles, I don't think you have a right to not do anything about it. I also don't think you should have to pay to remove the trees, and I would like to see the government help you out by maybe replanting or giving you some money. But unless you're going to build a biodome over your land, this is about more than you and what you "own."
- I own a house, I have a yard, and I pull up weeds, even if they're native, to clean my flower beds. I'm not stupid enough to think humans can convert 100% of our land back into pristine habitat for native flora and fauna. And neither is the government. It's crazy to think that their goal is to eliminate all non-native species, or that Senators are trying to sneak this law through under the radar so they can redefine "invasive" however they please. Do you know how long it took them to arrive at this official definition?
- I do not consider myself a "radical Green" or "international socialist," but I would like to tell all property rights' advocates that I do not want to control your land. I do not even claim to know how to control your land. What I would prefer is that you take the time to properly manage your own land, keeping in mind that it might be nice to share some of it with the native creatures that used to live there before you built your house/condo complex/strip mall. So maybe the next generation won't grow up knowing flowers from the print on your dish towels. Just my own ecologically-slanted a-bit-heavy-on-the-melodrama thoughts.
Saturday, September 25, 2004
According to this report from The Maui News, there is some concern that the red-vented bulbul is invading the island of Molokai. The bulbul, a bird native to Pakistan, India and Vietnam, dines on a wide range of delicacies, from papayas to flower nectar to insects, making it a potential threat to native species as well as to farmers. This species is on Hawaii's Injurious Species List (.pdf), making it illegal to transport it to any island, though populations have been in Oahu since the 1950's. Bonus points to Maui News for using the bird's scientific name.
Friday, September 24, 2004
Recently published journal articles:
- "Mating patterns and rates of biological invasion" (commentary) by Ingrid M. Parker. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 101(38), pp. 13695-13696.
- "Pollen limitation causes an Allee effect in a wind-pollinated invasive grass (Spartina alterniflora)" by Heather G. Davis, Caz M. Taylor, John G. Lambrinos and Donald R. Strong. Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. 101(38), pp. 13804-13807.
- "A role for immunology in invasion biology." by Kelly A. Leea and Kirk C. Klasing. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 19(10), pp. 523-529. (Shades of the Enemy Release Hypothesis)
- Risk Assessment. SPECIAL ISSUE ON RISK ASSESSMENT FOR INVASIVE SPECIES 24(4). Ten articles - read all the abstracts on this page (keep scrolling!)
- "Invasion in space and time: non-native species richness and relative abundance respond to interannual variation in productivity and diversity" by Elsa E. Cleland, Melinda D. Smith, Sandy J. Andelman, Christy Bowles, Karen M. Carney, M. Claire Horner-Devine, John M. Drake, Sarah M. Emery, Joel M. Gramling, and David B. Vandermast. Ecology Letters. 7(10), pp. 947+.
- "A meta-analysis of biotic resistance to exotic plant invasions" by Jonathan M. Levine, Peter B. Adler and Stephanie G. Yelenik. Ecology Letters. 7(9), pp. 975+.
Thursday, September 23, 2004
Habitattitude...Habitatitude...Habitattitatitude...A newly trademarked name brought to you by that large but relatively unknown creature known as the "government-industry coalition," which in this case includes PIJAC, USFWS and NOAA. How do I acquire a "Habitattitude (TM)," you ask? One way would be to blend the words habitat and attitude, both of which I think are trademark-free. Another way, according to the site, would be to "Adopt a conservation mentality." and to "Protect our environment by not releasing unwanted fish and aquatic plants."
Here's some more about the program:
"HabitattitudeTM is about consumer awareness and responsible behaviors. By drawing attention to the potential environmental ramifications of the aquarium and water garden hobbies while promoting responsible consumer behaviors, HabitattitudeTM avoids the definition debate surrounding "invasive species." Ultimately, the campaign seeks to eliminate the transfer and survival of any species outside of your enclosed, artificial system, which has the potential to cause the loss or decline of native plants and animals."
Not sure I know many water gardens that I'd consider enclosed systems, but maybe this program could work...if they could somehow get everyone to be informed and compliant.
Those that are interested can read the press release here.
Wednesday, September 22, 2004
The Register-Guard has this story about Oregon's testing of an innovative new weed-killing system. Called "Waipuna," the system takes a concoction made up of hot water and a corn/coconut sugar extract, and sprays it on plants as a hot foam. The foam insulates its weedy victims in a 200+ degree F blanket, shocking the plant's cells and usually killing it within four hours. The Bureau of Land Management is testing the Waipuna system on several different invasive plants, both herbs and vines.
Tuesday, September 21, 2004
Back in January of this year there was an ISW entry about a genetically engineered cultivar of creeping bentgrass (Agrostis stolonifera) that is herbicide-resistant. Now comes word from BBC News that pollen from this GEO can travel as much as 13 miles away from the parent plants. In an upcoming journal article, scientists describe the pollen flow and the discovery of transgenic seed in wild plants located several miles from test plots. This is probably not good news for the chemical companies.
Monday, September 20, 2004
Twenty years ago, voters in Oregon approved the creation of the Devils Lake Water Improvement District, with the goal of restoring health to Devils Lake. That lake later become the first body of water in Oregon where triploid grass carp (Ctenopharyngodon idella) were introduced to control aquatic weeds. As reported by the Newport News Times, this past month the Oregon Bass and Panfish Club petitioned the Oregon Fish and Game Commission to add the carp to their list of acceptable sport fish to catch at the lake. Apparently the carp are doing too good of a job, and the lake has not been able to reach a "balance of vegetation." DLWID board members recognized that they need a better, more complex plan to manage the lake ecosystem, and have pledged to work with the state Department of Fish & Wildlife. In the meantime, they were pleased that the F&GC recently rejected the carp-catching proposal.
Sunday, September 19, 2004
If you have a problem with invasive plant propagules clinging onto your clothing, you may want to check out BurzOff, a tool designed specifically to remove burrs, beggarticks, and other spiny seeds and fruits. It's made from 90% post-consumer recycled materials, and looks kind of like a pumice stone.
Actually, all the burry, spiny things I can think of that cling to my boots and jeans here in Massachusetts are native. But if you're in a part of the world where you're dealing with lots of thistles and grasses, you may find this useful (could have used this for the legumes in the Costa Rican pastures!). If you are already sold, you can get one for $8 + $4 S/H. Read the original press release here.
Saturday, September 18, 2004
The fall course catalog is out from the New England Wildflower Society's Garden in the Woods. I'll be giving 3 lectures about invasive plants, sign up for one or select all three and save $$$! There will be one each month, starting in October with BOT5120 (Vectors of Invasion—Past, Present and Future), November with BOT5121 (American Invaders—The Reverse Invasion), and finishing off in December with BOT5122 (Alien Law). I'll also be leading an Invasive Weeds in Winter field trip in January 2005. Other interesting courses being offered at GITW this fall include two by Chris Mattrick, a lecture in September about Alternatives to Invasive Plants, and then an October trip about Identification and Control of Invasive Plants. Josh Ellsworth will also be teaching an all-day course in November about Invasive Plant Control and Restoration.
Friday, September 17, 2004
Fifty years ago, Edward Hosaka and the appropriately named Alan Thistle authored a book titles "Noxious plants of the Hawaiian ranges." In honor of the half-century anniversary of the book's publication, the Hawaiian Ecosystems at Risk (HEAR) website has put the entire book online for free! It lends an interesting historical perspective to the invasive species issues in that state, and mentions several well-known weeds, including gorse (Ulex europeus) and lantana (Lantana camara). If you're interested, head over to this page, where you can choose from the full, large .pdf version, a "lite" .pdf, or just the text in .rtf format.
Thanks to a member of the ALIENS-L listserver for posting a link to this valuable resource.
Wednesday, September 15, 2004
Stories about invasive species from neighborhoods around the world:
- The Vilas County News-Review has this report about property owners given a grant to fight invasive aquatic plants in Little St. Germain Lake, Wisconsin.
- The Asbury Park Press has a story about a temporary compromise between the Township of Barnegat, NJ and a group caring for a feral cat colony. (Thanks to Val C. for sending the link)
- The Courier-Mail has this story about the efforts of Brisbane, Australia's City Council to assess problems caused by the spread of the introduced common myna bird (Acridotheres tristis).
Monday, September 13, 2004
When I was little, I had a sticker collection (okay, I still have it). Even now I doubt anything in my collection is worth as much as this: Michigan is using this decal as part of a program to raise funds to fight invasive species in the Great Lakes. Unfortunately, it's only 3 inches square, yet costs $35. And yes, you still have to register your boat - this sticker is decorative only. Guess I won't be adding one to my collection any time soon. Read the press release here.
Saturday, September 11, 2004
A couple of weeks ago I had the opportunity to visit a site where they're testing the effectiveness of the galerucella beetle (Galerucella calmariensis) as a biocontrol for purple loosestrife (Lythrum salicaria). Noted entomologist Fred SaintOurs agreed to let me travel with him to the site, a wetland in Lexington, MA (little did I know it was just an excuse to get some volunteer work out of me! - just kidding Fred). The Purple Loosestrife Bio-control Monitoring Project has been going on in Massachusetts for several years; the beetles were released at the Lexington site in fall 2002. My visit was late in the season, so there were no beetles around, but I did see a lot of leaf damage, as shown in the photo below:
Fred noted that there were a few plots where very little purple loosestrife was left. There were also plots where the native cattails were rebounding, though as you can see in this photo, there was still some loosestrife to be reckoned with. Until this trip I had no idea purple loosestrife could be so tall:
Thursday, September 09, 2004
The July application of herbicide to Michigan's Kawkawlin River appears to have been successful in removing infestations of curly-leaved pondweed (Potemogeton crispus) and Eurasian watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum). But as reported by The Bay City Times, property owners in the area aren't happy. The reason? Parts of the river are now filled to the brim with water lilies, happy to take up the space vacated by the non-native aquatic plants. The article does not mention what the species is, but does note that it is native. The Kawkawlin River Watershed Property Owners Association is considering its options, including another round with herbicide. Property owners are allowed to remove the lilies in front of their homes by hand, but must apply for a permit to treat the river with chemicals.
Wednesday, September 08, 2004
Two weed-pullers have sailed to the appropriately named "Inaccessible Island" to clear invasive plants from the most unlikely and awkward of places. As reported by allAfrica.com, the workers have to traverse a nearly vertical rock cliff to remove patches of New Zealand flax plants (Phormium tenax). A rapid increase in the rate of spread of the introduced populations over the past decade is what brought attention to the problem. The flax, originally introduced from New Zealand, likely spread from the two other islands in the Tristan da Cunha group, as all three were colonized by humans.
Tuesday, September 07, 2004
Colorado's given up when it comes to weeds...sort of. According to researchers, more than 75% of the invasive plants in that state are already so well established that there is no chance to eradicate them. So, says the state, why waste the money? That may be why lawmakers have skipped over the weed management fund for the past two years when determining the state's budget. Read the full story in the Denver Post.
Monday, September 06, 2004
Forget those old "Don't Drink and Drive" messages you hear every Labor Day, this year in Wisconsin they tried something new. As reported in the Duluth News Tribune, volunteers brought together by the state's Clean Boats, Clean Waters (.pdf) program spent the day at boat landings, inspecting boats for invasive species and educating boat owners. Volunteers say that the response to the program so far has been positive.
Thanks to Z*lda for sending a link to this story.
Sunday, September 05, 2004
Back in February 2003 I posted about the Agricultural Research Service's efforts to find a biological control for the red imported fire ant (Solenopsis invicta). Now a kind reader has pointed out this March 2004 article from AgNews, about the detection of a protozoan (Thelohania solenopsae) in wild populations of the ant. Discovered in more than 75% of the Texas counties where the red imported fire ant is found, this strain of Thelohania solenopsae appears to have found its way to the ants without human intervention, and tests show that it is different from the strain used in laboratory tests.
Thanks to Thomas D. for sending in the link to this story.
Saturday, September 04, 2004
When there's a pun in the title, it has to be a good report, right? :-) The Washington Post web site currently features an article titled "Love Me Tendril." It's about the many species of non-native vines taking over parts of D.C., Virginia and Maryland. Despite the silly title, this is a meaty article that covers everything from why a vine starts "vining" to management projects to Biblical references and poetry devoted to these twining plants.
Friday, September 03, 2004
With the school year beginning this week in much of the U.S., teachers thinking about adding the topic of invasive plants to their curriculum should visit the Mass Invaders website. The site was developed as a companion to the poster you see above. While it is geared towards Massachusetts residents, it has dozens of links and several hundred photos, sure to be useful no matter what part of the country you call home. If you are a teacher in Massachusetts you can order a copy for the cost of postage (a mere $1.25!) by clicking on the "About" link at the website.
Thursday, September 02, 2004
Red imported fire ants (Solenopsis invicta) continue their nasty, globetrotting ways in the eastern hemisphere. According to this report from The China Post, the South American ants are now in Taiwan, first discovered in cargo containers a few years ago. Scientists are warning that if strong steps are not taken soon, the health of Taiwan's human population and livestock will be at risk, and that country's economy could take a hit of over $100 billion per year.
Wednesday, September 01, 2004
State workers in Maui were bewildered and outraged to discover that someone stole two of the traps they laid out to capture the brown tree snake (Boiga irregularis) that may be roaming the island. As reported by The Maui News, the chances of finding the snake have now been become even smaller, and the search party only has until Friday to complete the search. In related news from KauaiWorld.com, Guam is cutting funding of their brown tree snake management program, increasing the likelihood that one will be introduced to Hawaii via a contaminated plane.
Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Recently published journal articles:
- "Atmospheric invasion of non-native pollen in the Mediterranean region" by Jordina Belmonte and Montserrat Vilà. American Journal of Botany. 91(8), pp. 1243-1250. (People in Catalonia are suffering as non-native pollen increases the concentration of airborne allergens and the duration of the allergy season.)
- "Genetic variation of introduced Hawaiian and native Costa Rican populations of an invasive tropical shrub, Clidemia hirta (Melastomataceae)." by Saara J. DeWalt and J.L. Hamrick. American Journal of Botany. 91(8), pp. 1155-1162.
- "Are invasive species a major cause of extinctions?" by Jessica Gurevitch and Dianna K. Padilla. Trends in Ecology and Evolution. 19(9), pp. 470-474.
- "HOW INTERACTIONS BETWEEN ECOLOGY AND EVOLUTION INFLUENCE CONTEMPORARY INVASION DYNAMICS" by John G. Lambrinos. Ecology. 85(8), pp. 2061-2070.
- "Invasion impacts local species turnover in a successional system" by Kathryn A. Yurkonis and Scott J. Meiners. Ecology Letters. 7(9), pp. 764+. (Effects of Japanese Honeysuckle vine [Lonicera japonica] on plant species richness.)
- "Distinctiveness magnifies the impact of biological invaders in aquatic ecosystems" by Anthony Ricciardi and Susanna K. Atkinson. Ecology Letters. 7(9), pp. 781+. (Get the .pdf!)
- "Increased susceptibility to enemies following introduction in the invasive plant Silene latifolia" by Lorne M. Wolfe, Jelmer A. Elzinga and Arjen Biere. Ecology Letters. 7(9), pp. 813+.
Monday, August 30, 2004
Louisiana oyster farmers are concerned about the effect that importing and growing live bivalves will have on their industry. As reported by The Times-Picayune, their focus is on two problems: 1) Asian oysters (Crassostrea ariakensis) that are being seeded into the Chesapeake Bay, and 2) green mussels (Perna viridis) that were introduced by ballast water and threaten Louisiana oyster beds. If you are interested in the subject of introduced oysters, be sure to check out the book "Nonnative Oysters in the Chesapeake Bay," which is available in its entirety on the web here.
Saturday, August 28, 2004
The Herald-Mail is reporting that Maryland officials, under pressure from the pet industry and hobbyists, have agreed to revise their ruling banning all 29 known species of snakehead fish (Channa spp.). The Maryland Department of Natural Resources will review the list and remove any snakehead species that can only survive in tropical waters. Here's hoping they err on the side of caution.
Friday, August 27, 2004
Old Way: Grow rice, lose valuable rice harvest following infestation of golden apple snails (Pomacea spp.). New way: Using the tips provided in this module offered by the Open Academy for Philippine Agriculture, convince golden apple snails to avoid rice and instead dine on the weeds of the rice paddies. If it works, you get a good rice harvest and escargot to boot!
Thanks to a member of the ALIENS-L listserver for posting a link to the site.
Thursday, August 26, 2004
If you heard about Michigan's response to the arrival of the emerald ash borer beetle (Agrilus agriplennis), which was to remove millions of infested ash trees, maybe you were wondering what they were doing with all that wood. According to this story from the Detroit Free Press, the state was converting the cut trees to wood chips to fuel a power plant. But now there's a company called LaMont Brothers Tree Service that has found a more efficient use. They take the trees, strip away the outer layers, and use the rest to make boards that can be used as railroad ties or to make furniture. They actually applied for and received a grant to do this work - you can read more about it here.
Wednesday, August 25, 2004
White perch (Morone americana) is a fish native to the east coast of the U.S. Over the decades it has been introduced to several other river systems in North America, where it has established large populations. But they're not quite sure how dozens of the fish ended up in Barrow Pit, Iowa, part of the Keg-Weeping Water drainage area. It's the first documented evidence of white perch in that state. Read the report here, or the history of the species here.