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.

FEATURES

Video
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...
Blog entry MORE STORIES Blog entry MORE AUDIO / VIDEO
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...
Blog entry MORE STORIES Blog entry MORE AUDIO / VIDEO
This week at the Smithsonian Ocean Portal we embark on an experiment we're...

LATEST CATCH

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...

DIVE DEEPER

Regardless of what continent you live on, the waters that surround it are home to marine invaders. The ocean is teeming with...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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,...
“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...
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.
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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...
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.
Subscribe to Invasive Species