RESOURCES: Foreigners Invade U.S. Waters

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Science  01 Jun 2001:
Vol. 292, Issue 5522, pp. 1615
DOI: 10.1126/science.292.5522.1615d

Like uninvited party guests, hundreds of foreign animals and plants have made themselves at home in U.S. waters, where they can wreak havoc on native ecosystems. To keep tabs on the party crashers, aquatic biologist Pam Fuller of the U.S. Geological Survey in Gainesville, Florida, launched the Nonindigenous Aquatic Species site in 1992. Now used by “everyone you can imagine,” Fuller says, the site has become a hot stop for researchers and others needing detailed information on America's most unwanted aquatic species.

Most useful for scientists is the rundown of species habitat, impact, and taxonomy and references to voucher specimens in museums. The site's database can also be used to generate a U.S. map of an invader's range and list introduced species found in any state or watershed. The aliens run from high-profile nuisance species such as the zebra mussel, bighead carp, and green crab to plants such as giant salvina, a fern choking many Southeast ponds and streams. Fuller says the site receives tips from everyone from ichthyologists to regular folks “who catch some kind of weird fish.”

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