Temperate communities could adapt to cold

Cleaning marine debris from the barge
Cleaning marine debris from the barge (Photo: J. Whinam)

20 November 2006

A major threat to native communities in the Antarctic and sub-Antarctic islands is the establishment of invasive organisms.

A temperate marine community, including several invasive organisms, fouling a barge to be used at Macquarie Island is reported in Biological Invasions. For one invasive amphipod species, Monocorophium acherusicum, over 136 000 individuals including females with eggs were calculated to be living on the barge.

Although there is a large difference between the thermal ranges of Macquarie Island and the Derwent River, Hobart, a hazard assessment suggested enough similarity between the two environments to allow for survival of transported organisms for eight months of the year.

This study identifies the need for effective quarantine measures aimed at identifying and managing marine biosecurity hazards as well as constant vigilance and application of these quarantine guidelines.

Reference
Lewis, P.N., Bergstrom, D.M., Whinam, J. (2006). Barging in: a temperate marine community travels to the subantarctic. Biological Invasions 8: 787–795.

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