Friday, June 8, 2012

Holy Propagule Pressure, Batman! OR Blow Torches = Relief

Well, I don't know about y'all, but I sure was holding my breath while I was reading the first half of this from the Huffington Post.  

Figure 1. EEP!  A dock loosed from Japan as a result of the tsunami just mosied 
up a beach north of Newport OR, all laden with sea life. Credit: AP.

Then I got to the part about blow torches and felt much better.

In invasion ecology, "propagules" are the individuals of a non-native species that are first released into a new habitat.  Increased propagule pressure (more individuals released or more introduction events) is one of the only reliable predictors we've found of whether an introduced species will become invasive.  That, and whether a given species has become invasive in other locations.

Among the HALF TON of non-native sea life affixed to this dock was Undaria pinnatifida (AKA Wakame), invasive in southern CA, along with, "a small crab that has run wild on the East Coast, but not shown up yet on the West Coast" (very helpful HuffPost, thank you).  

So, I admit feeling relief when I got to the part about blow torches.  

But beyond generating concern over Oregon's coastal habitats, having the shrapnel arrive on our own doorstep is a good reminder of the damage done by the tsunami, and that Japan is, of course, still very much in recovery.  I don't know about y'all, but I'm taking a moment to think on that.

1 comment:

  1. I thought of you as soon as I heard this story! Glad they got out the blow torch.