Thursday, June 07, 2012

Washed-Up Dock May Have Brought Invasive Species

Oregon State Parks photo of derelict dockIn the "Nature Always Laughs Last" department, that 165-ton Japanese dock that was taken out to sea in their tsunami, and just washed up on an Oregon coast, may contain some undesirable invasive species.
Along for the ride were hundreds of millions of individual organisms, including a tiny species of crab, a species of algae, and a little starfish all native to Japan that have scientists worried if they get a chance to spread out on the West Coast.

"This is a very clear threat," said John Chapman, a research scientist at Oregon State University's Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport, Ore., where the dock float washed up early Tuesday morning. "It's exactly like saying you threw a bowling ball into a China shop. It's going to break something. But will it be valuable or cheap glass. It's incredibly difficult to predict what will happen next."
Scientists have taken a torch to the thing, but it might have been too late. Here's a photo gallery.

There are two more of these docks out there, somewhere.

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