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Secretary Bruce Babbitt to give keynote address at conference on marine bioinvasions

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Elizabeth A. Thomson
Phone: 617-258-5563
MIT Resource Development

CAMBRIDGE, Mass. -- Invasions by exotic, non-native species are creating major economic and environmental global problems in the sea. Estimates indicate that a new major invasion occurs about every 36 months. The First National Conference on Marine Bioinvasions, to be held at MIT January 24- 27, 1999, will bring together internationally renowned scientists to discuss the extent of the problem, suggest methods to reduce the number of invasions that are now occurring, and recommend some strategies for monitoring and managing unwanted introductions. Secretary Bruce Babbitt, U.S. Department of the Interior, will be the keynote speaker on Tuesday, January 26, 1999, at 10:00am.

Talks at the conference include:

Ecosystem changes due to recent U.S. coast-to-coast invaders; e.g Chinese Mitten Crab, Asian clam

James Carlton, Williams College/Mystic Seaport Maritime Studies Program; Andrew Cohen, San Francisco Estuary Institute; Sara Wynn, U.S. Bureau of Reclamation; and Janet Thompson, U.S. Geological Survey.

With more than 250 established exotic invaders from around the world, San Francisco Bay now has much more in common with Boston Harbor because of the human-mediated, widespread establishment of Atlantic coast species. Several scientists are collaborating to document and study the effects of these invasive species.

Australian government response to red-tide causing dinoflagellates and other organisms

Keith Hayes, Chad Hewitt, and Ron Thresher, CSIRO Centre for Research on Introduced Marine Pests.

Australia has undertaken extensive research on risks associated with newly introduced species from a variety of sources. This has lead to the formation of the world's first government center on marine invasions in Australia.

New Predatory snail (whelk) threatens oysters in Chesapeake Bay -- will it reach Long Island Sound?

Roger Mann and Julie Harding, College of William and Mary - Virginia Institute of Marine Science.

A new predatory snail (whelk), Rapana venosa, is becoming abundant in the oyster beds in the Chesapeake Bay. There appear to be no natural predators and it is expanding its range. Will it reach the extensive oyster beds of Long Island Sound?

Ballast water research and management

Allegra Cangelosi, Northeast-Midwest Institute; Greg Ruiz and Anson Hines, Smithsonian Environmental Research Center; and James Carlton, Williams College/Mystic Seaport Maritime Studies Program.

Ballast water, used to stabilize ships during passage, is picked up in one or more ports and discharged in others. This is one of the most important pathways for moving organisms from one area to another. Zebra mussels are one of the most notorious examples of ballast water introductions causing economic damage and affecting the ecosystem. Similar examples are emerging in the marine environment as well, such as the whelk Rapana noted above now in Chesapeake Bay. A comb jelly, Mnemiopsis leidyi, has been transported from New England to the Black Sea and altered an economically important anchovy fishery. Allegra Cangelosi has been involved in a research project to evaluate using filtration technology as a possible ballast management tool; Greg Ruiz and Tuck Hines have been involved with extensive ballast science and management studies in Chesapeake Bay and Alaska, and James Carlton initiated much of the U.S. work on introductions starting in the 1960's.

The Conference is hosted by the MIT Sea Grant College Program and co-sponsored by Oregon and Connecticut Sea Grant programs, the Massachusetts Environmental Trust, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service, U.S. Coast Guard, Battelle, and others.

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