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You are here: Home / News and Events / In the News / Mar 2011
News and Events
In the News

Mar 2011

Selected "In the News" items previously featured on NISIC for this month. See the In the News Archives to view previously posted items by year and month.

See our What's New section for current items of interest.

Side view of spotted bat (Euderma maculatum) by Paul Cryan - USGS

Bats Worth Billions to Agriculture: Pest-control Services at Risk (Mar 31, 2011)
DOI. United States Geological Survey.
Pest-control services provided by insect-eating bats in the U.S. likely save the U.S. agricultural industry at least $3 billion a year, and yet insectivorous bats are among the most overlooked economically important, non-domesticated animals in North America, according to an analysis published in this week's Science magazine Policy Forum. Insectivorous bats suppress populations of nocturnal insects, but bats in North America are under severe pressure from two major new threats -- White-nose syndrome (WNS) and the increased development of wind-power facilities are threatening populations of insectivorous bats in North America.

Ballast water

Smithsonian Scientists Help Block Ship-borne Bioinvaders Before They Dock (Mar 24, 2011)
Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.
Ballast water taken up by ships in coastal waters teems with plankton and microbes. When discharged at the next port of call, these hitchhikers can wreak havoc on receiving ecosystems. The U.S. Coast Guard has proposed a new set of rules, Ballast Water Discharge Standard limiting the number of organisms allowed, in line with current International Maritime Organization standards. To help regulators and engineers develop and test treatment systems, and ultimately enforce the new standards, a team of Smithsonian researchers developed a new model that will facilitate accurate screening of vessels for dangerous species before they unload. The team's findings are published in the journal Environmental Science & Technology (2011, 45 (8), pp 3539–3546).

Botanic garden

Botanic Gardens Blamed for Spreading Plant Invaders (Mar 17, 2011)
More than half of the world's most invasive plant species spread into new habitats from botanic gardens, according to an analysis of historic "alien" escapes. A researcher at Lincoln University in Christchurch, New Zealand started with 34 plants that were on a list of the world's 100 worst invasive species, collated by the International Union for Conservation of Nature. By searching the literature for evidence of where the plants had originated, he reported that no less than 19 of the 34 had almost certainly spread from botanic gardens. The study is published in the Trends in Ecology article, Addressing the threat to biodiversity from botanic gardens. Although most cases analyzed happened between the 1800s and the mid-1900s, there are reports of more recent releases which merit a tightening up of biosecurity, researchers warn.


Extent and Speed of Lionfish Spread Unprecedented (Mar 14, 2011)
DOI. United States Geological Survey.
The rapid spread of lionfishes along the U.S. eastern seaboard, Gulf of Mexico, and Caribbean is the first documented case of a non-native marine fish establishing a self-sustaining population in the region, according to recent USGS studies. More than 30 species of non-native marine fishes have been sighted off the coast of Florida alone, but until now none of these have demonstrated the ability to survive, reproduce, and spread successfully. For more information, see the article Update on geographic spread of invasive lionfishes in the Western North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico published in Aquatic Invasions. For additional information on lionfish, see the USGS Lionfish Factsheet.


USDA and Russian Scientists Develop High-Tech Crop Map (Mar 10, 2011)
USDA. Agricultural Research Service.
AgroAtlas is a new interactive website that shows the geographic distributions of 100 crops; 640 species of crop diseases, pests, and weeds; and 560 wild crop relatives growing in Russia and neighboring countries. Downloadable maps and geographic information system (GIS) software are also available, allowing layering of data, for example, relating major wheat production areas to concentrations of Russian wheat aphids. AgroAtlas also has the potential to aid in the detection and identification of insect pests, pathogens or weeds that have entered -- or could enter -- the U.S. from Russia or neighboring countries. Read more about this research in the article ARS and Russian Scientists Develop "AgroAtlas" With Worldwide Benefits, published in the Mar 2011 issue of Agricultural Research.


Scientists Find That Non-native Snakes Are Taking a Toll on Native Birds (Mar 10, 2011)
Smithsonian Institution.
The Everglades National Park in Florida has become the well-established home of the non-native Burmese python -- known to be a predator of native species. Scientists, for the first time, have conducted a detailed analysis of the avian component of the python's diet and the negative impact the snakes may have on Florida’s native birds, including some endangered species. They found that birds, including endangered species, accounted for 25 percent of the python's diet in the Everglades.  The findings can be applied to a wider geographical area as pythons can also inhabit a wide variety of habitats, and their impact is not restricted to just the native bird species within the Everglades. The study is published in The Wilson Journal of Ornithology article Birds Consumed by the Invasive Burmese Python Python molurus bivittatus) in Everglades National Park, Florida, USA.


Nutria Videos Highlight Growing Problem (Mar 9, 2011)
USDA. FS. Pacific Region.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service released two videos about the growing presence of non-native nutria in Oregon and Washington, two of 15 states with stable or increasing nutria populations. The invasive mammals, native to South America, cause ecological damage and are potentially harmful to native wildlife and humans. Nutria populations in Louisiana and Maryland are considered beyond eradication, which could potentially become a reality for Oregon and Washington if nothing is done to battle current populations. The Service hopes individuals will educate themselves about nutria and other invasive species in order to preserve the Northwest's native plant and animal life. The videos Following the Invasive Nutria in the Northwest and Using Radio Telemetry to Track Nutria Movement can be viewed on YouTube.

Ballast water

Invasive Species Settlement: New Ballast Water Permit Should Help Protect American Coasts, Lakes and Rivers (Mar 8, 2011)
National Resources Defense Council.
The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) has agreed to issue a new permit regulating ballast water discharges from commercial vessels in response to a settlement of lawsuits brought by a dozen conservation groups challenging the legality of EPA's existing permit. Ballast water is the number one source for a number of aquatic nuisances such as the so-called "fish Ebola," the spiny water flea, and zebra and quagga mussels. Under the settlement, EPA has agreed to publish a draft of a new Vessel General Permit by Nov 2011 and to issue a new permit by Nov 2012, which would not go into effect until the current permit expires in Dec 2013.

Grass carp

Stabenow and Great Lakes Advocates Join to Stop Asian Carp (Mar 6, 2011)
Senator Debbie Stabenow.
U.S. Senator Debbie Stabenow joined Great Lakes experts and local advocates at a news conference in Detroit to call on Congress to swiftly act on legislation to protect the Great Lakes from Asian Carp. Sens. Stabenow (D-MI) and Dick Durbin (D-IL) introduced The Stop Asian Carp Act in the Senate (S.471), and Congressman Dave Camp (R-MI) introduced legislation in the House (H.R.892), to prevent Asian carp and other invasive species from entering the Great Lakes through the Chicago Waterway. The Stop Asian Carp Act will require the speedy creation of an action plan to permanently separate Lake Michigan from the Chicago Area Waterway System, where experts believe Asian Carp could enter and cause irreparable harm to the Great Lakes.


Pest Alert! Firewood: Threat From Invasive Beetles (PDF | 205 KB)
Massachusetts Pest Outreach Project.
Prepared by: DOI. NPS. Integrated Pest Management Program.
Firewood may contain non-native insects and plant diseases. Bringing firewood into the park from other areas may accidentally spread pest insects and diseases that threaten park resources and the health of our forests.

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Last Modified: Apr 28, 2015
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