Last month, a floating dock from Japan washed ashore in Newport, Oregon, bringing with it over 20 different types of invasive species, including brown algae, mussels, and crabs. Although scientists stopped the intruders from establishing themselves on the West Coast, the introduction of these species could have been disastrous. Invasive species cause an estimated $100 billion in damage each year in the United States, and globally the bill is more than a trillion dollars. In addition to causing economic problems, invasive species such as the brown tree snake in Guam and zebra mussels in the Great Lakes can also devastate ecosystems and drive species extinct. Although many scientists see invasive species a threat, others view them as a naturally occurring phenomenon and argue that the term “invasive” doesn’t make sense.
Join us for a live chat at 3 p.m. EDT on Thursday, 26 July, when we chat with three experts on invasive species: What future threats do they pose? How can they be stopped? Or are they just misunderstood? You can leave your questions in the comment box below before the chat starts. The full text of the chat will be archived on this page.
Matthew Chew is a research faculty associate at the School of Life Sciences, at Arizona State University and an author of the Nature article “Don’t judge a species on their origins.”
Mark Hoddle is the Director for the Center for Invasive Species Research and an extension specialist in biological control at the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences at the University of California Riverside.
John Chapman is an Assistant Professor of Fisheries at the Hatfield Marine Science Center at Oregon State University in Newport Oregon and a marine invasive species specialist and is the leader of the team that analyzed the invasive species that came aboard the floating dock from Japan.