We’ve recently taken a look at how Lionfish are invading Caribbean waters, but they’re not the only invasive species out there.
There are several different types of marine life that are currently in the process of migrating from one body of water to another, creating incredible disruptions throughout the entire native ecosystem.
While there are thousands of invasive species out there, we’re going to take a look at a few of the biggest offenders.
If you’ve ever visited any of the Great Lakes, you may be familiar with zebra mussels – but you shouldn’t be.
This type of mussel has been an inhabitant of the Great Lakes for almost 20 years.
Initially making their way into these waters on cargo ships from the Black Sea, these mussels have continued to expand throughout the five lakes and into other bodies of water across the United States. Today, you can find them in waters around Canada and Mexico as well, notes Scuba Diver Life Magazine, proving that these tenacious mussels have continued to easily migrate in all directions.
Why exactly is this invasive species so bad? Zebra mussels have such a disruptive effect on native species by eating the food sources of juvenile fresh water fishes.
They have also blocked drainage and intake piping and damaged harbors and other port equipment.
States and nations have spent millions of dollars so far attempting to combat their migration and keep them contained, but so far, it’s not working.
In most cases algae is harmless, but a specific type known as killer algae has spread to several parts of the world, replacing several types of food that local wildlife populations depend on.
Despite being native to certain areas throughout the Indian and Pacific oceans, this alga has made its way to locations like the Mediterranean Sea, where it has replaced the local aquatic plant life that many marine species relied on for food.
The alga has even made it to the coasts of California where it was contained, but only after the state used chemicals to get rid of it, placing a further burden on the environment.
The last invasive marine species we’re going to talk about is the sea walnut.
You may not know it from its name, but this is actually a type of jellyfish that is native to the waters off the coast of North and South America.
Several decades ago, this species was introduced to other bodies of water through sea trade, including the Black and Caspian seas where it has wreaked havoc.
In these smaller waters, the sea walnut has disrupted certain ecosystems to a devastating level by feeding on the local plankton that other aquatic species relied on as their own food source, starving out the native wildlife.
The local fishing industries in bordering nations have been effectively destroyed because of the sea walnut, and other countries are on alert as three other bodies – the Baltic, North and Mediterranean seas – have recently reported sightings of this nefarious jellyfish.
There are many other invasive species out there, but these are a few of the most notable ones in recent years.
As divers, it’s important to recognize that enjoying the exotic sights and wildlife of the lakes and oceans we dive requires that we be responsible stewards of the environment.
We believe it’s vital that all of us do our part to help prevent transporting exotic species to new environments where they could grow to harm the local ecological balance.
Thoroughly clean your boat, empty your boat’s water bilge and fresh water tanks before moving into new waters, sterilize and dry your diving equipment between swims in different locations and be ever vigilant to slow the progression of these pests and the many other species causing problems all around the world.
At Terrapin Wetsuits, we love the oceans and love helping our customers have the best experience possible beneath the waves.
Let us help you with a custom wetsuit or diving accessories to make the most of your time in the water. Shop our full inventory online now, or contact us today for more information or help finding the right dive wear for you.