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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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...
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Alaska’s pristine coastline is ripe for an influx of invasive marine species...
If you want to study invasive species in the ocean, the Panama Canal offers a...
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This week at the Smithsonian Ocean Portal we embark on an experiment we're...

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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 Atlantic coast. The native...
A strain of this green seaweed, native to the Indian and Pacific Oceans,...
The majestic and highly predatory red lionfish ( Pterois volitans ) , native...

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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...
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...
Laurie takes a break collecting invasive species to snap a "selfie" while under the hull of a cargo ship.
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...
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...
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...
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...
I am once again leaving my familiar world behind and descending into the abyss below. The first dive of an entirely new expedition is the most magical. I am a member of a scientific research dive...
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...
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...
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...
This photograph, much like Van Gogh’s Starry Night is awhirl with the colors and swishes of hundreds of fish. The focal point, however, is the lionfish. Lionfish ( Pterois antennata ) have been known...
During the summer of 1998, scientists at the Virginia Institute of Marine Science made a series of disturbing discoveries in the Chesapeake Bay. In June, they collected an unusual specimen: a single...
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...
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.
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.
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...
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...
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