No, not the little-green-man type of aliens. This isn’t War of the Worlds. Or maybe it is.
A new study suggests that rising ocean temperatures will give marine invasive species – plants or animals that are not native to a particular area but have been introduced by human activity – a competitive edge over their native counterparts. The prediction is based on two lines of evidence:
- Long-term monitoring of Bodega Bay, California suggests a link between warming waters and invasive species. Water temperatures have risen more than 2.5ºF in the past 50 years, and non-native species no outnumber natives 2 to 1, according to Susan Williams, professor of evolution and ecology at the University of California at Davis. Of course, that could just be a coincidence. SO …
- Williams and her colleagues took native and non-native animals into the lab and tested their ability to withstand high temperatures. “We determined that introduced species tolerated significantly higher temperatures than natives,” Williams said. “Our results strongly suggest that, as ocean temperatures continue to increase, native species in this system will decrease in abundance, whereas introduced species are likely to increase.”
So what’s to be done? Andy Revkin has a creative suggestion on his Dot Earth blog today – batter and fry ‘em … a lot of ‘em. The idea is based on campaigns to eliminate lionfish that are invading the Great Lakes, but who’s to say it couldn’t work for the squishy orange and brown things taking over Bodega Bay? I found a recipe for sea squirt pizza, but the author didn’t have many complimentary things to say about it … or the more traditional Asian dish of raw sea squirt over rice. Any better ideas?