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They've been contracted by the California Department of Fish and Wildlife to survey locations in and around the ports of L. Past surveys on the number of invasive species in local waters have varied widely. A survey from the ports of L. But data from Fish and Wildlife shows that as many as species have been found in the area in recent years.
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These differences exist because these surveys tended to be point-in-time snapshots in limited areas. The current survey by the Smithsonian scientists hopes to get a more accurate picture with a longer sampling period and more locations. According to a Fish and Wildlife study, almost 80 percent of non-native species found on the West Coast were first sighted in California.
Steve Foss with the marine invasive species program at Fish and Wildlife said that San Francisco has traditionally been the state's invasive hotspot, but that the department is shifting focus to ramp up surveys at the Southern California ports. Warmer waters might lead to a northward expansion of non-native species — possibly from Mexican waters — up to California, Foss said. Three months ago, Smithsonian researchers hung plastic panels off 20 local docks including the Port of Long Beach.
Now, Chang and his colleague Elena Huynh were at the marina to pull them up.
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The panels hung by a rope a few feet down into the water, weighed down by a brick. Huynh carefully sliced through the zip ties holding the brick to the panel and cut it free from the rope. Once she extracted the panel, she scraped off as much mud as possible and placed it into a dish of fresh water. The word invasive seems sinister, but what these scientists pull out from the water looks a lot like everything else here: green, squishy and covered in mud. You might have heard about ballast water.
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Cargo ships fill their holds with seawater to stay balanced, but that water can also carry invasive species. Since , ships have been required to either retain ballast water or discharge this water at least nautical miles away from shore — and over 90 percent of them do. But invasives remain a problem well beyond the ports. Researchers say recreational boating also plays a part. Small vessels can spread around species that have been introduced by cargo ships. At Peter's Landing, Todd Larson and some friends started a boat engine at a central dock. But similar guidelines don't exist for marine recreational boating.
Ford said that after "Finding Nemo" was released, people started flushing fish and plants down the drain, or taking them to the ocean and dumping them in. It led to a pulse of invasion around the country. But what about here? The ports of Los Angeles and Long Beach conduct semi-regular studies in their waters. Their most recent report shows the number of invasive species grew at the ports, from 10 identified in to 27 in