Collecting Invasive Species on a Boat Hull

A diver clears the bottom of a cargo ship of specimens.
Laurie Penland, Smithsonian

Smithsonian Environmental Research Center (SERC) ecologist, Ian Davidson, is under the belly of a cargo ship collecting specimens. A thin, slimy layer of microbes—called a biofilm—calls the painted surface of the ship home. These tiny creatures, along with larger organisms inside the hull of the ship, are often invasive species—hitching a ride on moving ships to new locations where they can have severe ecological impacts. Read more about the research going on below the hull in our blog.