Outreach & Extension: Non-native Species
Contact: Dan Terlizzi
In addition to aquaculture for restoration aimed at the replenishment of native species in the Chesapeake, Maryland Sea Grant Extension engages with issues related to non-native species in the Bay. The introduction of non-native species may jeopardize native ecology by disrupting food-web dynamics, habitat use, and disease control. Yet some non-native species may be key to successful restoration efforts. Sea Grant Extension tackles both prongs of the non-native species issue.
First, specialists work to educate the public about the potential hazards of introducing non-native species to the Chesapeake watershed. Sea Grant Extension conducts outreach efforts to prevent the unintentional introduction of non-native species, and works with the pet industry, aquarium trade, and general public to teach about species of concern and the implications of deliberate or accidental introduction to the watershed. Aquaculture specialist Andy Lazur has developed a partnership with Maryland’s pet industry using a poster campaign to educate pet owners of the dangers of releasing non-native species and has also established a non-native pet species re-homing program.
Second, Sea Grant Extension conducts specific research related to culturing oysters, including the suitability of introducing the non-native oyster, Crassostrea ariakensis to the Bay. This and other work takes place at the Aquaculture and Restoration Ecology Laboratory (AREL) at the UM Center for Environmental Science’s (UMCES) Horn Point Lab. AREL, which opened in 2003, is helping to bring oyster research into a new and exciting era in Maryland. The lab has increased the production of spat for the University’s oyster restoration program and forged ties between university and non-university partners.
An important feature of AREL is the 1,540 square foot quarantine lab for research on non-native species. This lab provides control of culture water for researchers while preventing the unwanted escape of biological material into nearby waters. Information generated at this facility will help decision makers as they shape the future of oysters in the Chesapeake Bay.
Science for Restoration: Non-native Species