Invasive Species

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These brittlestars ( Ophiothela mirabilis ) are not where they belong. These animals, usually found in the Pacific Ocean, were first spotted in the Atlantic Ocean off the coast of Brazil in 2000. And...
When people sail the sea, marine organisms tag along. If carried long distances...
During the summer of 1998, scientists at the Virginia Institute of Marine...
The majestic and highly predatory red lionfish ( Pterois volitans ) , native to...

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This bivalve mollusk is native to the Caspian Sea, lagoons of the Black Sea, and their inflowing rivers. It lives in fresh and brackish water and cannot tolerate full seawater. In the 18th and 19th centuries, zebra mussels spread...
Rapa whelks , native to Asia, have invaded the Chesapeake Bay and are...
This ctenophore (a stingless jellyfish-like animal) is native to the east...

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Regardless of what continent you live on, the waters that surround it are home to marine invaders. The ocean is teeming with...
Biofilm (microbial life that clings to underwater painted surfaces and is generally found covering the bottom of ships) is collected from the hull of a cargo ship with a funnel and syringe.
Laurie takes a break collecting invasive species to snap a "selfie" while under the hull of a cargo ship.
Regardless of what continent you live on, the waters that surround it are home to marine invaders. The ocean is teeming with plants and animals willing and able to move beyond their native habitats...
The European green crab ( Carcinus maenas ) has spread far beyond its native continent, to waters off North and South America, Asia and Australia. It's a voracious eater and poses a nuisance to...
Large organisms, like these tunicates, live inside the recesses of a ship's hull while microscopic organisms form a film across all the painted surfaces on the boat.
Pick up any news article about invasive species and you may confuse it with a police blotter. Generally, invasive species are "almost bulletproof" "marauders," "terrorizing" ecosystems and wildlife...
When people sail the sea, marine organisms tag along. If carried long distances, these hitchhikers can invade and disrupt ecosystems far from their natural homes, pushing out the local species. Some...
The spotfin lionfish ( Pterois antennata ), with venomous spines extended, is native to Indo-Pacific reefs. Certain lionfish species have invaded reefs in Florida, the Caribbean and are moving up the...
A strain of this green seaweed, native to the Indian and Pacific Oceans, escaped public and private aquariums in California, Japan, Australia, and Monaco. It has spread widely in the Mediterranean,...
When people sail the sea, marine organisms tag along. If carried long distances, these hitchhikers can invade and disrupt ecosystems far from their natural homes, pushing out the local species. Some...
When people sail the sea, marine organisms tag along. If carried long distances, these hitchhikers can invade and disrupt ecosystems far from their natural homes, pushing out the local species. Some...
Invasive species can have a range of environmental and economic impacts. In this photo sea squirts foul an oyster cage. Scientists at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center's Marine Invasions...
This ctenophore (a stingless jellyfish-like animal) is native to the east coast of North and South America. In 1982, it was discovered in the Black Sea, where it was transported by ballast water . It...
Jellyfish and comb jellies are gelatinous animals that drift through the ocean's water column around the world. They are both beautiful—the jellyfish with their pulsating bells and long, trailing...
Rapa whelks , native to Asia, have invaded the Chesapeake Bay and are raising concerns about economic and ecological impacts to the Bay region due to their shellfish diet. Scientists believe that...
This week at the Smithsonian Ocean Portal we embark on an experiment we're calling "Make Me Care." The concept is simple: we ask a renowned expert to tell us why we should care about his or her...
Dennis Whigham , a senior botanist at the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center , makes his quick pitch for why you should care about the wetland plant Phragmites australis . A European strain of...
“Sea grapes” may sound like something Poseidon would snack on, and not a killer algae. Yet Caulerpa racemosa var. cylindracea poses a serious threat to marine life. Spread by the bilge water of boats...
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