Aquatic Nuisance Species Prevention: Alaska Ecological Surveys

Biological Surveys of Port Valdez and Prince William Sound , Alaska

The Prince William Sound Regional Citizen’s Advisory Council, in collaboration with the U.S. Fish & Wildlife Service, NOAA National Sea Grant Program and the University of Alaska funded a series of studies to assess the potential for invasive non-indigenous marine species to be introduced into Prince William Sound via ballast water discharges by oil tankers.

Initially a one-year pilot study was conducted by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center in 1997 to define the problem and the potential risks of invasion. The Risk of Nonindigenous Species Invasion in Prince William Sound Associated with Tanker Traffic and Ballast Water Management: Pilot Study (1997) concluded that nonindigenous species were being introduced into Prince William Sound via ballast water, and there was a risk of invasion. The study was extended to further evaluate ballast water content and management, and to conduct a base-line assessment to determine what species may have already been introduced. The study of Biological Invasions of Cold-Water Coastal Ecosystems: Ballast-Mediated Introductions in Port Valdez / Prince William Sound Alaska (2000) discovered 15 species that had already been introduced via ballast discharges and/or hull and anchor fouling. Additional species were found present in ballast tanks of the oil tankers studied.

There was concern that increased shipping activity between Prince William Sound and Homer could increase the threat of invasion in the Prince William Sound region. The previous surveys of harbors in Kachemak Bay in South Central Alaska indicate there were higher numbers of invasive species present there. To assess the potential threat an intensive field study was conducted in Kachemak Bay in August of 2000. The study of Marine Invasive Species and Biodiversity of South Central Alaska (2001) found 13 nonindigenous invasive species including 3 hydroids, 1 bryzoan, 2 bivalve mollusks and 7 species of vascular plants. Four other species, including a previously unknown ascidean, a sea star, and two species of hydroid were of unknown but suspicious origin.

In addition, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center determined, on the basis of temperature and salinity experiments, and information from areas that have been successfully colonized in other regions, that Alaska is at risk of invasion by European Green Crabs. The study Projecting Range Expansion of Invasive European Green Crabs (Carcinus maenas) to Alaska: Temperature and Salinity Tolerance of Larvae reports their conclusions.

PDF IconMARINE INVASIVE SPECIES AND BIODIVERSITYOF SOUTH CENTRAL ALSAKA 2001
 

PDF IconBIOLOGICAL INVASIONS OF COLD-WATER COASTAL ECOSYSTEMS: BALLAST-MEDIATED INTRODUCTIONS IN PORT VALDEZ / PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND, ALASKA Summary (13 pp.)

PDF IconBIOLOGICAL INVASIONS OF COLD-WATER COASTAL ECOSYSTEMS: BALLAST-MEDIATED INTRODUCTIONS IN PORT VALDEZ / PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND, ALASKA

PDF IconTHE RISK OF NONINDIGENOUS SPECIES INVASION IN PRINCE WILLIAM SOUND ASSOCIATED WITH OIL TANKER TRAFFIC AND BALLAST WATER MANAGEMENT: PILOT STUDY (56 pp.)

 


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