Research Publications: UM-SG-RS-2003-33


In ships or on ships? Mechanisms of transfer and invasion for nonnative species to the coasts of North America.




Fofonoff, PW, Ruiz, GM; Steves, B; Carlton, JT


Ruiz, GM; Carlton, JT, eds. Invasive Species: Vectors and Management Strategies. Island Press.
Chapter 7 : 152 - 182


A critical parameter in both interpreting historical patterns of invasions and predicting future invasions is an understanding of how, when, and where specific vectors operate to deliver species to new regions. In marine and estuarine (brackish-water) environments, shipping has been the pre-dominant vector of human transport of nonindigenous species around the world (Carlton 1985, Cohen and Carlton 1995, Hewitt et al. 1999, Reise et al. 1999, Ruiz  et al. 2000). Organisms were historically and unintentionally transported in and on ships by (in association with) hull fouling,  holes in wooden vessels, solid ballast, cargo, and deck and bilge debris. By 1900, another mechanism of transport associated with shipping had appeared, with most new long-range ships using ballast water (instead of ballast rocks or ballast sand) for stability (Carlton 1985).

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