Invasive Species

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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 invaders catch a...
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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Alaska’s pristine coastline is ripe for an influx of invasive marine species...

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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...
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...
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.
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...
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...
Lionfish, or Pterois , are a deadly type of fish that live around reefs, although they are native to the Indo-Pacific region. These fish have been known to be invasive, and with no natural predators...
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...
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...
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...
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,...
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...
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.
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...
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...
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...
Alaska’s pristine coastline is ripe for an influx of invasive marine species such as the European green crab and the rough periwinkle (an Atlantic sea snail), warns a new study by a team of...
Laurie takes a break collecting invasive species to snap a "selfie" while under the hull of a cargo ship.
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