Invasive Species

Most plants and animals have specific areas that they are most suited to—their native location. But through human interaction and a changing climate, these native species can sometimes be moved to a new region where they are referred to as invasive.

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5 Invasive Species You Should Know

A ship flushes and refills its ballast task in mid-ocean to prevent marine organisms from moving from one port to another...

Make Me Care About: Phragmites (Video)

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 phragmites...

Make Me Care About: Phragmites

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...

Rapa Whelks: Invaders of the Chesapeake Bay

Shellfish from the Chesapeake Bay are prized by seafood lovers. But the Bay's ecosystem and shellfish are threatened by human disturbances, including the introduction of non-native species. Credit: Mary Hollinger/NOAA During the summer of...

Reducing the Risk of Transporting Invasive Species

Busy shipping areas, like the Port of Oakland, are especially vulnerable to invading species that can be carried in ballast water. Credit: Monaca Noble, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center When people sail the sea, marine...

Alaska Vulnerable to Invasive Species from Warmer Waters

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 Lab study the movement and...

Researching Invasive Species Near the Panama Canal

If you want to study invasive species in the ocean, the Panama Canal offers a lot to explore. The ships passing through can inadvertently transport plants, animals, and even parasites from the Atlantic into...

5 Invasive Species You Should Know

A ship flushes and refills its ballast task in mid-ocean to prevent marine organisms from moving from one port to another. Credit: Smithsonian Environmental Research Center Regardless of what continent you live on, the...

Sea Grapes: A Google Earth Tour

“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...

Seagrass and Seagrass Beds

Seagrasses are found in shallow salty and brackish waters in many parts of the world, from the tropics to the Arctic Circle. Seagrasses are so-named because most species have long green, grass-like leaves. They...

Jellyfish and Comb Jellies

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 tentacles, and the comb jellies...
A diver clears the bottom of a cargo ship of specimens.

Unearthing Information About Invasives From the Bottom of a Cargo Ship

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) ecologist, Ian Davidson, is under the belly of a cargo ship collecting specimens. Credit: Laurie Penland, Smithsonian I am once again leaving my familiar world behind and descending into...

Rough Reputation: Are Invasive Species All Bad?

The vicious "killer shrimp." Credit: NOAA Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory Pick up any news article about invasive species and you may confuse it with a police blotter. Generally, invasive species are "almost bulletproof"...

Lionfish on the Loose

The majestic and highly predatory red lionfish ( Pterois volitans ) , native to the Indo-Pacific, is invading Atlantic waters. The lionfish is a popular home aquarium species, and some were most likely dumped...