May 05

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See Sea Species in the Sea, Not the Lakes

Sea-faring ships, ballast water, and invasive species . . . Learn more:

Ships use water as ballast to add weight and increase their stability. But that water can bring invasive species into the Great Lakes from elsewhere.

“They’re bringing in all the stuff that’s in the water. So zooplankton, fish, plants, bacteria, diseases, all those sorts of things,” explains Tim Campbell, Invasive Species Specialist with the University of Wisconsin Sea Grant Institute.

He says to minimize the problem, the U.S government now asks large sea-faring ships to exchange any freshwater in their holds with salt-water mid-ocean.

Most salt-water organisms cannot survive in the fresh water of the Great Lakes, so over the past ten years this policy has helped reduce the number of new invasive species entering the Great Lakes.

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Tim Campbell discusses the chain of events caused by invasive species.

 The fine print:

  • CurrentCast is produced in partnership with Cornell University’s Atkinson Center for a Sustainable Future. Learn more at http://www.currentcast.org.

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