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Aquatic Invasive Species
Plants and animals have adapted over the centuries to the habitats and conditions where they originate. And for just as long, humankind has been moving those organisms to new homes - sometimes intentionally, sometimes not.
When an introduced species is bigger, tougher, hungrier or faster-growing than others in its new home, it can crowd them out and wreak havoc on entire ecosystems - and regions. Effective prediction, detection, identification and mitigation strategies are critical to control.
Spread the word, not the invaders
Contact: Sam Chan
Oregon Sea Grant's invasive species specialist, Sam Chan, works with a wide range of people, from school teachers to resource managers, to educate Oregonians about aquatic invasive species, how they spread, and how they can be controlled. He serves on Oregon Invasive Species Council, and collaborates with state and local agencies and Sea Grant programs in other states. Sam and his team also work with the mass media to spread the word about invasive species to the general public. In 2008, for instance, they teamed with Oregon Public Broadcasting and the Salem Statesman-Journal in a highly successful, year-long "Stop the Invasion" series to educate Oregonians about the subject. The project included an award-winning OPB documentary, The Silent Invasion, and establishment of a "100 Worst" list of Oregon invaders.
Regional collaboration for more effective detection, control
The West Coast features some of the most diverse habitats in the nation, many of them especially vulnerable to the ecological and economic threats of invasive species. Once established, infestations are often permanent and may spread throughout the region. Effective management requires strong regional coordination and collaboration. Oregon Sea Grantis leading a two year, $416,000 NOAA-funded effort to combat high-priority aquatic invasive species in the Pacific Northwest and Southwest. Working with other West Coast Sea Grant programs and others throughout the region, we are developing better methods for predicting the spread of aquatic invaders, better understanding of the economic value of early detection and rapid response, and better strategies for educating the public about invasive species prevention. Recent regional efforts have included a 2012 workshop on legal and regulatory efforts to control the spread of invasive mussels in the West. Read more ...
Helping schools become part of the solution
Contact: Tania Siemens
Oregon Sea Grant's Watersheds and Invasive Species Education (WISE) program works with teachers to develop curricula, learning activities and other tools that bring invasive species learning into the science curriculum. At the same time, we're teaching teachers how to prevent their classroom science projects from becoming inadvertent pathways for releasing invaders into the wild. Among our educational tools is a growing AIS Toolkit of classroom-created projects and activities designed to bring home the "stop the invaders" message. Read more ...
Public pathways, public education
Boaters, campers, gardeners and water systems can all provide pathways for the spread of non-native invaders. Sea Grant applies its arsenal of public engagement and outreach tools to spreading the word about invasive species and the environmental and economic damage they can do. From publications and videos to campground and marina campaigns, we deliver the message where people live, work and play. Read more ...
- Regional Aquatic Invasive Species Research and Outreach. Sam Chan, Sea Grant aquatic ecosystem health specialist. (Funding: NOAA Sea Grant).
- Boater attitudes and practices in preventing invasive species. Sam Chan. (Funding: National Sea Grant Law Center)
Graduate theses from our student research assistants and interns:
- Exploring the Perspectives and Behaviors of Teachers on Invasive Species. Skye Root, 2010.
- Exploring Stakeholders’ Attitudes and Beliefs Regarding Behaviors that Prevent the Spread of Invasive Species: A Focus Group Study. Gwenn Kubeck. 2009.
- Presentations and other material from the August 2012 workshop on legal and regulatory frameworks for limiting the spread of invasive zebra and quagga mussels in the Western US.
Publications and videos
- NEW: Invasive Tunicates of the Pacific Northwest (illustrated, downlodable field guide)
- NEW: Japanese Tsunami Marine Debris - Key Aquatic Invasive Species Watch (identification guide in high and low resolution versions)
- On the Lookout for Aquatic Invaders - 72-page, illustrated identifcation guide to invasive species found in Oregon
- You Can Stop the Spread of Aquatic Invasive Species - free downloadable brochure
- You Ought to Tell Somebody - 23-minute video
- New Zealand Mudsnails (2nd edition) - 10-page field identification guide
- Garden Smart Oregon - A free guide to gardening with native plants and avoiding invasives
- Invasive Species: Putting Oregonians on the Lookout (printable .pdf | plain text)
- Education Helps Stem the Tide of Invaders (OSU Extension)
- Study finds new pathway for invasive species - science teachers (OSU News & Research Communication)
Additional Oregon Sea Grant publications and videos about: