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ANAMAR Biologist, Jason Seitz’s Publication on Taxonomic Resolution of Sawfish Rosta Published in Endangered Species Research (ESR)

 

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A synopsis of Jason Seitz and Jan Jeffrey Hoover’s evaluations of two large private collections of sawfish rosta (saws) has been published in the latest issue of ESR, an online-only international and multidisciplinary open-access journal on endangered species research.

Click here to read the article.

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Florida’s Introduced Nonindigenous and Invasive Amphibians and Reptiles: Part 2 of a 3-part Series on Biological Invasions in Florida

This article was first written and posted in 2015. We decided to dust it off and repost it. Enjoy!

This article discusses the species of introduced herpetofauna (amphibians and reptiles) of Florida’s terrestrial and aquatic habitats along with a general discussion of the possible effects of biological invasions on native wildlife and habitats.  The first part of this three-part series was on introduced fishes in the state.  The final part of the series will be on introduced mollusks (bivalves and gastropods, or clams and snails & slugs) of Florida. 

As of this writing, at least 110 species of nonindigenous herpetofauna (colloquially called ‘herptiles’ for short) representing 34 families have been introduced to Florida (Exhibits 1 and 4).  Of the species introduced to Florida, about 43% are now considered to have established breeding populations in one or more counties (Exhibit 2).  This amounts to 47 established herptile species in Florida as of this writing.  Both urban and natural areas of Florida are affected by these biological invaders.  For example, the first reticulated python (Python reticulatus) observed in Florida was during the 1980s, where it was seen living under a house in Miami.  This species has since been observed and (or) collected in several other areas of Florida, although it is not known whether the species has established self-sustaining breeding populations (Exhibit 3).   Lizards are the most successful group and account for the majority (72%) of established herptiles in Florida today.  The list in Exhibit 4 below contains the species known to have been introduced, although it is important to note that new species are introduced on a regular basis in Florida, so the list is constantly expanding.  Most introduced herptiles are native to the tropics (Wilson and Porras 1983).  The fact that Florida’s climate is subtropical is a major reason why many introduced species have successfully established themselves in the state.  Nonindigenous herptiles have been introduced via a variety of mechanisms:

  • Stowaways in shipments of ornamental plants or produce
  • Intentional or accidental release by pet dealers or owners
  • Intentional or accidental release from zoological parks
  • Intentional release by government agencies to combat nuisance organisms

photo 1 Herptiles.PNG

Exhibit 1.  Percentages per group of introduced species of amphibians and reptiles in Florida today.  Sources: Florida Museum of Natural History (http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/herpetology/florida-amphibians-reptiles/checklist-atlas/), USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species online database (http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/SpeciesList.aspx?group=Amphibians&state=FL&Sortby=1), Krysko et al. (2011), J.C.Seitz unpublished data.

photo 2 herptiles.PNG

Exhibit 2.  Percentages per group of introduced species of amphibians and reptiles that are known to have established self-sustaining breeding populations in Florida today.  Sources: Florida Museum of Natural History (http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/herpetology/florida-amphibians-reptiles/checklist-atlas/), USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species online database (http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/SpeciesList.aspx?group=Amphibians&state=FL&Sortby=1), Krysko et al. (2011), J.C.Seitz unpublished data.

photo 3 herptiles.PNG

Exhibit 3.  Several sightings and captures of the reticulated python (Python reticulatus) have occurred in Florida counties since the late 1980s, including Broward, Collier, Manatee, Miami-Dade, and Pinellas counties. 

The red pin-shaped symbols above represent the location of a sighting or capture.  The black numbers surrounded by red denote locations where more than one sighting or capture was recorded.  Modified from the UF Department of Wildlife Ecology & Conservation (http://ufwildlife.ifas.ufl.edu/snakes/reticulatedpython.shtml).

Wilson and Porras predicted in the early 1980s that southern Florida would eventually be overrun with introduced exotic wildlife.  The current trends in established and spreading introduced species suggest that these authors may have been right. 

Reducing the effects of invasive nonindigenous species is an important part of restoration and management efforts in natural areas of Florida, United States, and worldwide, as these species cause significant stress to native ecosystems (Adams and Steigerwalt 2010) and biological invasion is widely viewed as a major cause of the reduction in native plant and animal diversity (Elton 1958, Wilcove et al. 1998).  Invasive species are known to affect most natural areas of the United States (Villazon 2009) and worldwide (Sala et al. 2000).

It should go without saying that the intentional introduction of any nonindigenous species, whether it be a plant or animal and regardless of size or assumed innocuousness, should never be attempted.  The reasons are many and the costs can be severe, both in terms of biological effects and economic impacts.  Nonindigenous species introduced to new areas have the capacity to explode in numbers and outcompete native species for limited resources such as food, water, and shelter.  Native species are at a competitive disadvantage because they have not had time to evolve defense mechanisms that would otherwise allow them to successfully compete against the introduced species.  The competition between native and nonindigenous species can result in the extinction of native species, the spread of diseases and parasites, displacement of whole communities, and may even cause physical changes to the environment. 

Exhibit 4.  Nonindigenous amphibians and reptiles recorded in Florida.

Scientific Name

Common Name

Locality Records

Current Status

ANURA

FROGS & TOADS

 

 

BOMBINATORIDAE

FIRE-BELLIED TOADS

 

 

Bombina orientalis

Oriental Fire-bellied Toad

Broward Co.

Unknown

BUFONIDAE

AMERICAN TOADS

 

 

Atelopus zeteki

Panamanian Golden Frog

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

Duttaphrynus melanostictus

Southeast Asian Toad

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

Rhaebo blombergi

Columbian Giant Toad

Broward Co. (1963)

Failed

Rhinella marina

Cane Toad

Southern Florida, portions of central and northern Florida

Established (southern FL)

Unknown (elsewhere)

ELEUTERODACTYLIDAE

RAINFROGS

 

 

Eleutherodactylus coqui

Coqui

Miami-Dade Co.

Established

Eleutherodactylus planirostris

Greenhouse Frog

Throughout most of Florida

Established (throughout)

Eleutherodactylus portoricensis

Forest Coqui

Miami-Dade Co. (1964)

Collected

HYLIDAE

TREEFROGS

 

 

Litoria caerulea

Australian Green Treefrog

Broward, Collier, & Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown

Osteopilus septentrionalis

Cuban Treefrog

Throughout most of Florida

Established (most of FL)

Pachymedusa dacnicolor

Mexican Leaf Frog

Miami-Dade Co. (1964)

Failed

Pseudacris sierra

Sierran Chorus Frog

Hillsborough & Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown

HYPEROLIIDAE

SEDGE AND BUSH FROGS

 

 

Afrixalus fornasini

Fornasini's Spiny Reed Frog

Broward Co.

Failed

MICROHYLIDAE

NARROWMOUTH TOADS

 

 

Kaloula pulchra

Malaysian Painted Frog

Broward Co.

Unknown

PIPIDAE

TONGUELESS FROGS

 

 

Hymenochirus boettgeri

Zaire Dwarf Clawed Frog

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

Xenopus laevis

African Clawed Frog

Brevard, Hillsborough, & Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown

AMPHIUMIDAE

AQUATIC SALAMANDERS

 

 

Amphiuma tridactylum

Three-toed Amphiuma

Broward Co.

Unknown

SALAMANDRIDAE

TRUE SALAMANDERS AND NEWTS

 

 

Cynops orientalis

Oriental Fire-bellied Newt

Broward & Sumter Co.

Unknown (Broward Co.)

Collected (Sumter Co.)

Cynops pyrrhogaster

Japanese Fire-bellied Salamander

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

Notophthalmus viridescens viridescens

Red-spotted Newt

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

Pachytriton labiatus

Paddle-Tail Newt

Broward Co.

Failed

TESTUDINES

TURTLES & TORTOISES

 

 

BATAGURIDAE

BATAGURID TURTLES

 

 

Ocadia sinensis

Chinese Stripe-necked Turtle

 Alachua Co. (1972)

Eradicated

Rhinoclemmys pulcherrima

Central American Ornate Wood Turtle

Manatee Co.

Failed

Rhinoclemmys punctularia

Spot-legged Wood Turtle

Miami-Dade Co.

Established (Miccosukee Indian Reservation)

Collected (Parrot Jungle Trail, Jungle Island)

CHELIDAE

SOUTH AMERICAN SIDE-NECKED TURTLES

 

 

Chelus fimbriatus

Matamata

Broward Co.

Failed

Platemys platycephala

Twist-necked Turtle

Collier Co.

Collected

EMYDIDAE

POND TURTLES

 

 

Chrysemys dorsalis

Southern Painted Turtle

Alachua & Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown

Chrysemys picta

Western Painted Turtle

Jackson, Miami-Dade, & Orange Co.

Unknown (Jackson Co.)

Failed (Miami-Dade Co.)

Collected (Orange Co.)

Glyptemys insculpta

Wood Turtle

St. Johns Co.

Failed

Graptemys barbouri

Barbour's Map Turtle

Leon Co.

Collected

Graptemys ernsti

Escambia Map Turtle

Orange Co.

Unknown

Graptemys ouachitensis

Ouachita Map Turtle

Miami-Dade & Palm Beach Co.

Collected (Miami-Dade Co.)

Unknown (Palm Beach Co.)

Graptemys pseudogeographica

False Map Turtle

Brevard, Columbia, Gilchrist, & Miami-Dade Co.

Failed (Miami-Dade Co.)

Unknown (elsewhere)

Trachemys dorbigni

Brazilian Slider

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

Trachemys scripta callirostris

Columbian Slider

Miami-Dade & Monroe Co.

Failed (Miami-Dade Co.)

Unknown (Monroe Co.)

Trachemys scripta elegans

Red-eared Slider

Throughout most of Florida

Established (throughout)

Trachemys scripta scripta

Yellow-bellied Slider

Broward, Lee, & Miami-Dade Co.

Established (Lee Co.)

Unknown (Broward & Miami-Dade Co.

Trachemys stejnegeri malonei

Inagua Slider

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

KINOSTERNIDAE

MUD & MUSK TURTLES

 

 

Kinosternon scorpioides

Scorpion Mud Turtle

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

Staurotypus salvinii

Pacific Coast giant musk turtle

Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown

Pelusios subniger

East African Black Mud Turtle

Miami-Dade Co.

Collected

PELOMEDUSIDAE

AFRICAN SIDE-NECKED TURTLES

 

 

Podocnemis lewyana

Magdalena River Turtle

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

Podocnemis sextuberculata

Six-tubercled River turtle

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

Podocnemis unifilis

Yellow-spotted River Turtle

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

TESTUDINIDAE

LAND TORTOISES

 

 

Chelonoidis denticulata

Yellowfoot Tortoise

Collier Co.

Collected

TRIONYCHIDAE

SOFTSHELL TURTLES

 

 

Apalone spinifera

Spiny Softshell

Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown

CROCODYLIA

CROCODILES & ALLIGATORS

 

 

ALLIGATORIDAE

ALLIGATORS

 

 

Caiman crocodilus

Spectacled Caiman

Broward, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, & Seminole Co.

Established (Broward & Miami-Dade Co.)

Unknown (elsewhere)

Paleosuchus palpebrosus

Cuvier's Smooth-fronted Caiman

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

Paleosuchus trigonatus

Schneider's Smooth-fronted Caiman

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

CROCODYLIDAE

CROCODILES

 

 

Crocodylus niloticus

Nile Crocodile

Hendry & Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

Mecistops cataphractus

African Slender-snouted Crocodile

Miami-Dade Co.

Failed

SQUAMATA

AMPHISBAENIANS, LIZARDS, & SNAKES

 

 

CORYTOPHANIDAE

HELMET LIZARDS

 

 

Basiliscus vittatus

Brown Basilisk

Nine counties in southern FL

Established (Broward, Collier, Glades, Indian River, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, & St. Lucie Co.)

Unknown (elsewhere)

IGUANIDAE

IGUANAS

 

 

Ctenosaura pectinata

Mexican Spinytail Iguana

Broward & Miami-Dade Co.

Established (Miami-Dade Co.)

Unknown (Broward Co.)

Ctenosaura similis

Black Spinytail Iguana

Nine coastal counties in southern FL

Established (most coastal counties in southern FL)

Unknown (elsewhere)

Iguana iguana

Green Iguana

Throughout coastal southern FL and along Lake Okeechobee, isolated areas elsewhere in FL

Established (many coastal counties in southern FL)

Unknown (northern & central FL)

PHRYNOSOMATIDAE

NORTH AMERICAN SPINY LIZARDS

 

 

Phrynosoma cornutum

Texas Horned Lizard

Spottily distributed throughout FL

Established (Duval Co. & western panhandle coastal areas)

Unknown (elsewhere)

POLYCHROTIDAE

ANOLES

 

 

Anolis chlorocyanus

Hispaniolan Green Anole

Broward & Palm Beach Co.

Established (Broward Co.)

Unknown (Palm Beach Co.)

Anolis cristatellus

Puerto Rican Crested Anole

Broward & Miami-Dade Co.

Established (Miami-Dade Co.)

Unknown (Broward Co.)

Anolis cybotes

Largehead Anole

Miami-Dade, Broward, & Martin Co.

Established (Miami-Dade Co.)

Unknown (Broward & Martin Co.)

Anolis distichus

Bark Anole

Most of coastal southern FL

Established (most of coastal southern FL)

Anolis equestris

Knight Anole

Most of coastal southern FL, spottily distributed in inland counties

Established (most of coastal southern FL)

Anolis garmani

Jamaican Giant Anole

Miami-Dade Co.

Established (Miami-Dade Co.)

Anolis porcatus

Cuban Green Anole

Miami-Dade & Monroe Co.

Possible hybridization with A. carolinensis (Miami-Dade & Monroe Co.)

Anolis sagrei

Brown Anole

Throughout peninsula and in at least 6 counties in panhandle

Established (most of FL)

Anolis trinitatis

St. Vincent Bush Anole

Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown

TROPIDURIDAE

LAVA LIZARDS

 

 

Leiocephalus carinatus

Northern Curlytail Lizard

15 counties in peninsular FL

Established to unknown throughout

Leiocephalus schreibersii

Red-sided Curlytail Lizard

Broward, Charlotte, & Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown

AGAMIDAE

AGAMID LIZARDS

 

 

Agama agama

African Rainbow Lizard

9 counties in peninsular FL

Established to unknown throughout

Calotes cf. versicolor

Variable Bloodsucker

Broward & St. Lucie Co.

Unknown (Broward Co.)

Established (St. Lucie Co.)

Leiolepis bellinana

Butterfly Lizard

Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown (Miami-Dade Co.)

CHAMAELEONIDAE

CHAMELEONS

 

 

Chamaeleo calyptratus

Veiled Chameleon

Alachua, Collier, Lee, & Hendry Co.

Unknown (Alachua & Collier Co.)

Established (Hendry & Miami-Dade Co.)

Furcifer oustaleti

Oustalet’s Chameleon

Miami-Dade Co.

Established (Miami-Dade Co.)

SPHAERODACTYLIDAE

NEW WORLD GECKOS

 

 

Gonatodes albogularis

Yellowhead Gecko

Broward, Miami-Dade, Monroe, & St. Lucie Co.

Likely established (Monroe Co.)

Failed (Broward, Miami-Dade, & St. Lucie Co.)

Sphaerodactylus argus

Ocellated Gecko

Monroe Co.

Established

Sphaerodactylus elegans

Ashy Gecko

Miami-Dade & Monroe Co.

Established (Miami-Dade & Monroe Co.)

GEKKONIDAE

WALL GECKOS

 

 

Gekko badenii

Golden Gecko

Broward Co. (Hollywood)

Unknown

Gekko gecko

Tokay Gecko

Spottily distributed between FL Keys north to Tallahassee

Established (spottily between FL Keys to Tallahassee)

Hemidactylus frenatus

Common House Gecko

Broward, Lee, Miami-Dade, & Monroe Co.

Established (Broward, Lee, Miami-Dade, & Monroe Co.)

Hemidactylus garnotti

Indo-Pacific House Gecko

Throughout southern, central, & northern FL peninsula; a few counties in panhandle

Established (throughout peninsula)

Unknown (panhandle)

Hemidactylus mabouia

Tropical House Gecko

Throughout southern FL, also parts of central and northern FL

Established (southern FL, parts of central and northern FL)

Hemidactylus platyurus

Asian Flat-tailed House Gecko

Alachua, Broward, Lee, Miami-Dade, & Pinellas Co.

Established (locally in vicinity of reptile dealerships)

Hemidactylus turcicus

Mediterranean Gecko

Throughout FL

Established (throughout)

Lepidodactylus lugubris

Mourning Gecko

Lee, Miami-Dade, & St. Lucie Co.

Unknown

Phelsuma grandis

Madagascar Giant Day Gecko

Broward, Lee, Monroe, & Palm Beach Co.

Established (Monroe & Palm Beach Co.)

Unknown (Broward & Lee Co.)

PHYLLODACTYLIDAE

PHYLLODACTYLID GECKOS

 

 

Tarentola annularis

Ringed Wall Gecko

Lee, Leon, Broward, & Miami-Dade Co.

Eradicated (Leon Co.)

Unknown (elsewhere)

Tarentola mauritanica

Moorish Gecko

Broward Co.; possibly Lee & Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown

TEIIDAE

WHIPTAILS

 

 

Ameiva ameiva

Giant Ameiva

Broward, Collier, Miami-Dade, & Monroe Co.

Established (Broward, Collier, Miami-Dade, & Monroe Co.)

Aspidoscelis motaguae (formerly Cnemidophorus motaguae)

Giant Whiptail

Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown, possibly established (Miami-Dade Co.)

Cnemidophorus lemniscatus complex

Rainbow Whiptail

Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown, possibly established (Miami-Dade Co.)

Tupinambis merianae

Argentine Giant Tegu

Southern FL, spottily recorded in central and northern FL

Established (Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, & Polk Co.)

Unknown (elsewhere)

SCINCIDAE

SKINKS

 

 

Chalcides ocellatus

Ocellated Skink

Pasco & Broward Co.

Established (both counties)

Eutropis multifasciata

Many-lined Sun Skink

Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown

Trachylepis quinquetaeniata

African Five-lined Skink

St. Lucie Co.

Unknown

VARANIDAE

MONITORS

 

 

Varanus albigularis

White-throated Monitor

Miami-Dade, Monroe, Osceola, & Palm-Beach Co.

Unknown

Varanus doreanus

Blue-tailed Monitor

Indian River Co.

Unknown

Varanus exanthematicus

Savannah Monitor

Collier, Hillsborough, Lee, Leon, Marian, Miami-Dade, Orange, Polk, Sarasota, & Seminole Co.

Unknown

Varanus jobiensis

Peach-throated Monitor

Palm Beach & Polk Co.

Unknown

Varanus niloticus

Nile Monitor

Southern FL, parts of central and northern FL

Established (Broward, Lee, Miami-Dade, & Palm Beach Co.)

Unknown (elsewhere)

Varanus salvator

Water Monitor

Alachua, Broward, Pinellas, & St. Johns Co.

Unknown

Varanus salvadorii

Crocodile Monitor

Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown

ACROCHORDIDAE

WORT SNAKES

 

 

Acrochordus javanicus

Javan File Snake

Broward & Miami-Dade Co.

Established (Miami-Dade Co.)

Unknown (Broward Co.)

BOIDAE

BOAS

 

 

Boa constrictor

Boa Constrictor

Southern FL, parts of central and northern FL

Established (Miami-Dade Co. at Charles Deering Estate)

Unknown (elsewhere)

Eunectes murinus

Green Anaconda

Collier & Osceola Co., possibly Monroe Co.

Collected (Collier & Osceola Co.)

Unknown (Monroe Co.)

Eunectes notaeus

Yellow Anaconda

Collier, Miami-Dade, & Monroe Co.

Collected (Monroe Co.)

Unknown (Collier & Miami-Dade Co.)

PYTHONIDAE

PYTHONS

 

 

Python bivittatus

Burmese Python

Southern FL, parts of central and northern FL

Established (Broward, Collier, Hendry, Miami-Dade, Monroe, & Palm Beach Co.)

Unknown (elsewhere)

Python regius

Ball Python

Collier Co.

Unknown

Python reticulatus

Reticulated Python

Broward, Collier, Manatee, Miami-Dade, & Pinellas Co.

Unknown

Python sebae

Northern African Rock Python

Miami-Dade & Sarasota Co.

Established: Miami-Dade Co.

Unknown: Sarasota Co.

COLUBRIDAE

COLUBRID SNAKES

 

 

Erpeton tentaculatus

Tentacled Snake

Broward Co.

Failed

TYPHLOPIDAE

BLINDSNAKES

 

 

Ramphotyphlops braminus

Brahminy Blindsnake

Central & southern FL, spottily distributed in northern FL

Established (southern, central, portions of northern FL)

Unknown (elsewhere)

Sources: Florida Museum of Natural History (http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/herpetology/florida-amphibians-reptiles/checklist-atlas/), USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species online database (http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/SpeciesList.aspx?group=Amphibians&state=FL&Sortby=1), Krysko et al. (2011), J.C.Seitz unpublished data.

Sources:

Adams, C.R. and N.M. Steigerwalt.  2010.  Research Needs and Logistic Impediments in Restoration, Enhancement, and Management Projects: A Survey of Land Managers. Publication ENH1161 [online resource].  Environmental Horticulture Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.  Accessed 11/21/10 at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep423.

Elton, C.S.  1958.  The Ecology of Invasions by Animals and Plants.  Methuen and Co., Ltd., Strand, London.

Florida Museum of Natural History.  2014.  Checklist & Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Florida [online resource].  Accessed 02/24/15 at http://www.flmnh.ufl.edu/herpetology/florida-amphibians-reptiles/checklist-atlas/.

Krysko, K.L., K.M. Enge, P.E. Moler.  2011.  Atlas of Amphibians and Reptiles in Florida.  Project Agreement 08013, report submitted to Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission, Tallahassee, FL.

Sala, O.E. F.S. Chapin, J.J. Armesto, E. Berlow, J. Bloomfield, R. Dirzo, E. Huber-Sanwald, L.F. Huenneke, R.B. Jackson, A. Kinzig, R. Leemans, D.M. Lodge, H.A. Mooney, M. Oesterheld, N.L. Poff, M.T. Sykes, B.H. Walker, M. Walker, and D.H. Wall.  2000.  Global biodiversity scenarios for the year 2100.  Science 287:1770–1774.

U.S. Geological Survey.  2015.  NAS – Nonindigenous Aquatic Species [online resource].  Accessed 03/03/15 at http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/CollectionInfo.aspx?SpeciesID=963&State=FL.

Villazon, K.A.  2009.  Methods to Restore Native Plant Communities after Invasive Species Removal: Marl Prairie Ponds and an Abandoned Phosphate Mine in Florida.  MS thesis, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

Wilcove, D.S., D. Rothstein, J. Dubow, A. Phillips, and E. Losos.  1998.  Quantifying threats to imperiled species in the United States. Bioscience 48:607–615.

Wilson, L.D. and L. Porras.  1983.  The Ecological Impact of Man on the South Florida Herpetofauna.  The University of Kansas Museum of Natural History Special Publication No. 9, University of Kansas, Lawrence, KS.

 

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Florida’s Introduced Nonindigenous and Invasive Fishes: Part 1 of a 3-part Series on Biological Invasions in Florida

This article is a repost from 2015. It discusses the species of introduced fishes in Florida’s freshwater and marine habitats, along with a general discussion of biological invasions as a potential driver of loss-of-habitat functions.  Future articles in the series will discuss introduced mollusks (bivalves and gastropods) and herptiles (amphibians and reptiles) of Florida.

Waterbodies such as streams, lakes, ponds, and oceans are well known for their habitat functions, especially their ability to support aquatic wildlife by providing sustenance and shelter.  A myriad of animals, from tiny arthropods to 12-meter-long whale sharks, rely on native organisms as food.   Many waterbodies support some of the most productive habitats in the world, providing food and shelter for mollusks, crustaceans, fishes, amphibians, reptiles, birds, and mammals, and often serve as vital nursery grounds for these species.  Others are nutrient-poor and relatively unproductive.  Nevertheless, hundreds of imperiled species require aquatic habitats for survival.  Along with their threatened or endangered wildlife, waterbodies themselves are threatened in many ways.  Anthropogenic disturbances include groundwater depletion, reallocation of surface water, nutrient inputs, habitat fragmentation, fire suppression, pollution, land use changes, overharvesting, climate change, dredging, and the introduction of nonindigenous plants and animals (Exhibit 1).

Exhibit 1 of JCS Introduced Fishes Writeup 012815

Reducing the effects of invasive nonindigenous species is an important part of restoration and management efforts in natural areas of Florida, the United States, and worldwide.  These species cause significant stress to native ecosystems (Adams and Steigerwalt 2010), and biological invasion is widely viewed as a major cause of the reduction in native plant and animal diversity (Elton 1958, Wilcove et al. 1998).  Invasive species are known to affect most natural areas of the United States (Villazon 2009) and worldwide (Sala et al. 2000), and aquatic habitats are particularly susceptible to nonindigenous species due in part to the fact that aquatic habitats act as biological sinks, receiving plant and animal genetic material from upstream sources.

As of this writing, at least 192 species of fishes representing 42 families have been introduced to Florida (Exhibit 2).  Nearly all waterbodies are affected by fish introductions, from small wetlands to the Atlantic and Gulf coasts of Florida.  The list below contains the species known to have been introduced, although it is important to note that new species are introduced on a regular basis in Florida, so the list is constantly expanding.  Many species ultimately fail to gain a foothold in Florida, while a smaller number of species successfully establish themselves.  Some have spread like a cancer across the state.  The Brown Hoplo (Hoplosternum littorale) is an example of an introduction that is now established throughout the peninsula of Florida, much to the detriment of native aquatic species that have not had time to adapt to this new competitor for limited resources.  Marine habitats are not immune to biological invasions.  The detrimental effects of the (likely intentional) introduction of two species of invasive lionfishes (Red Lionfish and Devil Firefish [Pterois volitans and P. miles]) are still being determined but likely include direct predation on native fishes, crabs, and shrimps and competition with native reef species for limited resources.  Red Lionfish and Devil Firefish are now firmly established throughout the Atlantic coast of Florida and are actively invading much of the Gulf of Mexico.  The spread of lionfishes throughout the western North Atlantic Ocean is occurring at an unprecedented rate (see Exhibit 3) (Schofield 2010).  Many of the introduced fishes in Florida are from tropical or subtropical areas of Asia and South America, and to a lesser extent, Africa (Idelberger et al. 2010).  The fact that Florida’s climate is also subtropical is a major reason why many introduced species have successfully established themselves in the state. 

It should go without saying that the intentional introduction of any nonindigenous species, whether it be a plant or animal and regardless of size or assumed innocuousness, should never be attempted.  The reasons are many and the costs can be severe, both in terms of biological effects and economic impacts.  Nonindigenous species introduced to new areas have the capacity to explode in numbers and outcompete native species for limited resources such as food, water, and shelter.  Native species are at a competitive disadvantage because they have not had time to evolve defense mechanisms that would otherwise allow them to successfully compete against the introduced species.  The competition between native and nonindigenous species can result in the extinction of native species, the spread of diseases and parasites, and the displacement of whole communities, and may even cause physical changes to the environment. 

Exhibit 2.  Freshwater and marine nonindigenous fishes recorded from Florida.

Scientific Name

Common Name

Locality Records

Current Status

ACANTHURIDAE

SURGEONFISHES

 

 

Acanthurus guttatus

Whitespotted Surgeonfish

Atlantic Ocean off Palm Beach County

Unknown, not likely to be established

Acanthurus pyroferus

Chocolate Surgeonfish

Atlantic Ocean off Palm Beach County

Unknown, not likely to be established

Acanthurus sohal

Red Sea Surgeonfish

Atlantic Ocean off Broward County

Unknown, not likely to be established

Naso lituratus

Orangespine Unicornfish

Atlantic Ocean off Palm Beach County

Unknown, not likely to be established

Zebrasoma desjardinii

Sailfin Tang

Atlantic Ocean off Broward County

Unknown, not likely to be established

Zebrasoma flavescens

Yellow Tang

Atlantic Ocean off Broward, Monroe, & Palm Beach counties

Established off Monroe County, unknown elsewhere

Zebrasoma scopas

Brown Tang

Atlantic Ocean off Broward County

Unknown, not likely to be established

Zebrasoma veliferum

Sailfin Tang

Atlantic Ocean off Monroe & Palm Beach counties

Unknown

Zebrasoma xanthurum

Yellowtail Tang

Atlantic Ocean off Palm Beach County

Unknown

ANABANTIDAE

CLIMBING GOURAMIES

 

 

Anabas testudineus

Climbing Perch

Manatee County

Extirpated

Ctenopoma nigropannosum

Twospot Climbing Perch

Manatee County

Extirpated

ANOSTOMIDAE

HEADSTANDERS

 

 

Leporinus fasciatus

Banded Leporinus

Miami-Dade County

Failed

BALISTIDAE

TRIGGERFISHES

   

Balistoides conspicillum

Clown Triggerfish

Atlantic Ocean off Palm Beach County

Unknown, not likely to be established

Rhinecanthus aculeatus

Lagoon Triggerfish

Atlantic Ocean off Palm Beach County

Unknown, not likely to be established

Rhinecanthus verrucosus

Bursa Triggerfish

Atlantic Ocean off Palm Beach County

Unknown, not likely to be established

BLENNIIDAE

BLENNIES

 

 

Hypsoblennius invemar

Tessellated Blenny

Atlantic and Gulf coasts off Bay, Broward, Lee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, & Palm Beach counties

Established

CALLICHTHYIDAE

ARMORED CATFISHES

 

 

Callichthys callichthys

Cascarudo

Palm Beach County, Boca Raton

Failed

Corydoras sp.

Corydoras

Miami-Dade County, elsewhere

Failed

Hoplosternum littorale

Brown Hoplo

Most of peninsular Florida

Established

CENTRARCHIDAE

SUNFISHES

 

 

Ambloplites rupestris

Rock Bass

Jackson, Okaloosa, Santa Rosa, & Walton counties

Established

CHAETODONTIDAE

BUTTERFLYFISHES

 

 

Chaetodon lunula

Raccoon Butterflyfish

Atlantic Ocean off Broward & Palm Beach counties

Unknown

Heniochus diphreutes

Schooling Bannerfish

Atlantic Ocean off Broward County

Unknown, not likely to be established

Heniochus intermedius

Red Sea Bannerfish

Atlantic Ocean off Palm Beach County

Unknown, not likely to be established

Heniochus sp.

Bannerfish

Atlantic Ocean off Palm Beach County

Unknown

CHANNIDAE

SNAKEHEADS

 

 

Channa argus

Northern Snakehead

Seminole & Volusia counties

Failed

Channa marulius

Bullseye Snakehead

Broward County

Established

CHARACIDAE

TETRAS

 

 

Aphyocharax anisitsi

Bloodfin Tetra

Hillsborough County

Failed

Colossoma macropomum

Tambaqui

Alachua, Bay, Broward, Leon, Pinellas, St. Lucie & Volusia counties

Failed

Colossoma or Piaractus sp.

Unidentified Pacu

Alachua, Broward, Citrus, DeSoto, Duval, Escambia, Holmes, Indian River, Marion, Miami-Dade, Pinellas, & Volusia counties

Failed

Gymnocorymbus ternetzi

Black Tetra

Hillsborough County

Failed

Hyphessobrycon eques

Serpae Tetra

Bay County

Failed

Metynnis sp.

Metynnis

Collier & Martin counties, elsewhere

Established (Martin Co.)

Failed (Collier Co.)

Moenkhausia sanctaefilomenae

Redeye Tetra

Hillsborough County

Failed

Piaractus brachypomus

Pirapatinga, Red-Bellied Pacu

Alachua, Brevard, DeSoto, Hillsborough, Martin, Monroe, Orange, Osceola, Polk, Sarasota, St. Lucie, & Walton counties

Unknown (Monroe Co.)

Failed (all other counties)

Piaractus mesopotamicus

Small-Scaled Pacu

Lee County

Failed

Pygocentrus nattereri

Red Piranha

Miami-Dade & Palm Beach counties

Failed (Miami-Dade Co.)

Eradicated (Palm-Beach Co.)

Pygocentrus or Serrasalmus sp.

Unidentified Piranha

Florida (not specified)

Collected

Serrasalmus rhombeus

White Piranha

Alachua & Miami-Dade counties, elsewhere

Eradicated to failed

CICHLIDAE

CICHLIDS

 

 

Aequidens pulcher

Blue Acara

Hillsborough County

Extirpated

Amphilophus citrinellus

Midas Cichlid

Alachua, Broward, Hillsborough, & Miami-Dade counties

Failed (Alachua Co.)

Established (elsewhere)

Archocentrus nigrofasciatus

Convict Cichlid

Alachua & Miami-Dade counties, elsewhere

Failed or eradicated throughout

Astatotilapia calliptera

Eastern Happy

Broward & Palm Beach counties

Established (both counties)

Astronotus ocellatus

Oscar

Much of southern FL

Established

Cichla ocellaris

Butterfly Peacock Bass

Much of southern FL

Established

Cichla temensis

Speckled Pavon

Palm Beach County, elsewhere in southern FL

Failed

Cichlasoma bimaculatum

Black Acara

Much of southern FL

Established

Cichlasoma octofasciata

Jack Dempsey

Alachua, Brevard, Broward, Hillsborough, Indian River, Levy, Manatee, & Palm Beach counties

Established (most counties)

Cichlasoma salvini

Yellowbelly Cichlid

Broward & Miami-Dade counties

Established

Cichlasoma trimaculatum

Threespot Cichlid

Hillsborough & Manatee counties

Failed (Hillsborough Co.)

Extirpated (Manatee Co.)

Cichlasoma urophthalmus

Mayan Cichlid

Much of southern Florida

Established

Geophagus sp.

Eartheater

Miami-Dade County

Failed

Hemichromis letourneuxi

African Jewelfish

Much of southern Florida

Established

Herichthys cyanoguttatum

Rio Grande Cichlid

Brevard, Hillsborough, Lee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Pinellas, & Polk counties

Established

Heros severus

Banded Cichlid

Broward & Miami-Dade counties

Established

Melanochromis auratus

Golden Mbuna

Hillsborough County

Unknown

Oreochromis aureus

Blue Tilapia

Much of peninsular FL

Established

Oreochromis mossambicus

Mozambique Tilapia

Much of peninsular FL

Established

Oreochromis niloticus

Nile Tilapia

Alachua, Brevard, Gadsden, Hardee, Hendry, Highlands, Jackson, Osceola, Putnam, & Sarasota counties

Established (Alachua Co.)

Unknown (elsewhere)

Oreochromis sp.

Tilapia Species

Brevard County

Unknown

Oreochromis, Sarotherodon, Tilapia sp.

Tilapia

Glades County, elsewhere

Collected

Parachromis managuensis

Jaguar Guapote

Much of southern FL

Established

Pseudotropheus socolofi

Pindani

Miami-Dade County

Extirpated

Pterophyllum scalare

Freshwater Angelfish

Palm Beach County

Failed

Sarotherodon melanotheron

Blackchin Tilapia

Much of southern FL

Established

Telmatochromis bifrenatus

Lake Tanganyika Dwarf Cichlid

Oklawaha County

Failed

Thorichthys meeki

Firemouth Cichlid

Brevard, Broward, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Miami-Dade, & Palm Beach counties

Established (Broward Co.)

Failed or extirpated (elsewhere)

Tilapia buttikoferi

Zebra Tilapia

Miami-Dade County

Established

Tilapia mariae

Spotted Tilapia

Much of southern FL

Established

Tilapia sp.

Unidentified Tilapia

Brevard County

Established

Tilapia sparrmanii

Banded Tilapia

Hillsborough County, elsewhere

Failed

Tilapia zillii

Redbelly Tilapia

Brevard, Lake, Miami-Dade, & Polk counties

Established (Brevard & Miami-Dade Co.)

Extirpated or failed (elsewhere)

CLARIIDAE

LABYRINTH CATFISHES

 

 

Clarias batrachus

Walking Catfish

Much of southern FL

Established

COBITIDAE

LOACHES

 

 

Misgurnus anguillicaudatus

Oriental Weatherfish

Much of southern FL

Established

Pangio kuhlii

Coolie Loach

Hillsborough County

Failed

CYPRINIDAE

CARPS AND MINNOWS

 

 

Barbonymus schwanenfeldii

Tinfoil Barb

Palm Beach County, elsewhere

Failed

Carassius auratus

Goldfish

Alachua, Clay, Miami-Dade, & Putnam counties

Unknown

Ctenopharyngodon idella

Grass Carp

Throughout FL

Stocked as triploid, no evidence of establishment

Cyprinus carpio

Common Carp

Much of northern FL

Established

Danio rerio

Zebra Danio

Hillsborough & Palm Beach counties

Failed

Devario malabaricus

Malabar Danio

Hillsborough & Miami-Dade counties, elsewhere

Failed

Hybopsis cf. winchelli

Undescribed Clear Chub

Gadsden County

Failed

Hypophthalmichthys nobilis

 

Bighead Carp

Bay & Palm Beach counties

Failed

Labeo chrysophekadion

Black Sharkminnow, Black Labeo

Not specified

Failed

Leuciscus idus

Ide

Not specified

Failed

Luxilus chrysocephalus isolepis

Striped Shiner

Escambia & Santa Rosa counties

Established

Nocomis leptocephalus bellicus

Bluehead Chub

Escambia & Santa Rosa counties

Established

Notemigonus crysoleucas

Golden Shiner

Ochlocknee drainage

Established

Notropis baileyi

Rough Shiner

Escambia & Santa Rosa counties

Established

Notropis harperi

Redeye Chub

Leon County

Failed

Pethia conchonius

Rosy Barb

Palm Beach County, elsewhere

Failed

Pethia gelius

Dwarf Barb

Palm Beach County, elsewhere

Failed

Pimephales promelas

Fathead Minnow

Hillsborough, Leon, Marion, Palm Beach, & Polk counties

Unknown or extirpated throughout

Systomus tetrazona

Tiger Barb

Miami-Dade County, elsewhere

Failed

Tinca tinca

Tench

Unspecified

Failed

DORADIDAE

THORNY CATFISHES

 

 

Oxydoras niger

Ripsaw Catfish

Miami-Dade County

Failed

Platydoras costatus

Raphael Catfish

Unspecified

Collected

Pterodoras granulosus

Granulated Catfish

Pinellas County

Failed

Pterodoras sp.

Thorny Catfish

Pinellas County

Failed

Platax orbicularis

Orbiculate Batfish

Broward, Lee, Miami-Dade, Monroe, & Palm Beach counties

Eradicated to unknown

ERYTHRINIDAE

TRAHIRAS

 

 

Hoplias malabaricus

Trahira

Hillsborough County

Eradicated

GRAMMATIDAE

BASSLETS

 

 

Gramma loreto

Fairy Basslet

Atlantic Ocean off Broward, Monroe, Palm Beach, & Duval counties; also in Gulf of Mexico (unspecified counties)

Established (throughout)

HELOSTOMATIDAE

KISSING GOURAMIES

 

 

Helostoma temminkii

Kissing Gourami

Hillsborough & Palm Beach counties

Failed

HEMISCYLLIIDAE

BAMBOOSHARKS

 

 

Chiloscyllium punctatum

Brownbanded Bambooshark

Atlantic Ocean off Palm Beach County

Unknown, not likely to be established

HEPTAPTERIDAE

SEVEN-FINNED CATFISHES

 

 

Rhamdia quelen

Bagre

Miami-Dade County

Failed

Rhamdia sp.

Bagre De Rio

Miami-Dade County

Unknown

ICTALURIDAE

NORTH AMERICAN CATFISHES

 

 

Ictalurus furcatus

Blue Catfish

Calhoun, Escambia, Gilchrist, Okaloosa, & Washington counties, elsewhere in northern FL

Established (most of area)

Failed (Okaloosa Co.)

Unknown (Washington Co.)

Pylodictis olivaris

Flathead Catfish

Calhoun, Escambia, Liberty, Gulf, Holmes, Jackson, Walton, & Washington counties, elsewhere in northern FL

Established (several areas)

Failed or unknown elsewhere

LORICARIIDAE

SUCKERMOUTH ARMORED CATFISHES

 

 

Ancistrus sp.

Bristlenosed Catfish

Miami-Dade County

Established

Farlowella vittata

Twig Catfish

Hillsborough County

Unknown

Glyptoperichthys gibbiceps

Leopard Pleco

Alachua County

Unknown

Hypostomus plecostomus

Suckermouth Catfish

Broward, DeSota, Hillsborough, Miami-Dade, & Polk counties

Established (most of area)

Unknown (Hillsborough Co.)

Hypostomus sp.

Suckermouth Catfish

Hillsborough, Martin, Miami-Dade, Palm Beach, Pinellas, & Seminole counties, elsewhere

Established (throughout)

Pterygoplichthys anisitsi

Paraná Sailfin Catfish

Brevard, Marion, Okeechobee, & St. Johns counties

Established

Pterygoplichthys disjunctivus

Vermiculated Sailfin Catfish

Much of southern FL

Established

Pterygoplichthys multiradiatus

Orinoco Sailfin Catfish

Much of southern FL

Established

Pterygoplichthys pardalis

Amazon Sailfin Catfish

DeSota, Glades, Hardee, Hillsborough, Lee, Miami-Dade, Okeechobee, Palm Beach, Sarasota, & St. Lucie counties

Established

Pterygoplichthys sp.

Sailfin Catfish

Much of central and southern FL

Established (much of area)

MASTACEMBELIDAE

FRESHWATER SPINY EELS

 

 

Macrognathus siamensis

Spotfin Spiny Eel

Miami-Dade & Monroe counties

Established (throughout)

MORONIDAE

TEMPERATE BASSES

 

 

Morone chrysops

White Bass

Much of peninsular FL

Established

Morone chrysops x M. saxatilis

Sunshine Bass

Much of northern and central FL

Stocked

Morone saxatilis

Striped Bass

Gadsden, Hernando, Lake, Martin, Orange, Polk, & Walton counties

Established (Gadsden, Hernando, Polk, & Walton counties)

Failed, extirpated, or collected (elsewhere)

NOTOPTERIDAE

FEATHERFIN KNIFEFISHES

 

 

Chitala ornata

Clown Knifefish

Lake, Palm Beach, & Pinellas counties

Failed (Lake & Pinellas Co.)

Established (Palm Beach Co.)

OSPHRONEMIDAE

GOURAMIES

 

 

Betta splendens

Siamese Fighting Fish

Manatee & Palm Beach counties, elsewhere

Failed (throughout)

Colisa fasciata

Banded Gourami

Not specified

Failed

Colisa labiosa

Thicklipped Gourami

Hillsborough County

Failed

Colisa lalia

Dwarf Gourami

Hillsborough & Palm Beach counties

Failed

Macropodus opercularis

Paradise Fish

Palm Beach County

Failed

Osphronemus goramy

Giant Gourami

Not specified

Collected

Trichogaster leerii

Pearl Gourami

Palm Beach County

Failed

Trichogaster trichopterus

Three-Spot Gourami

Miami-Dade & Palm Beach counties

Failed

Trichopsis vittata

Croaking Gourami

Palm Beach County

Established

OSTEOGLOSSIDAE

AROWANAS

 

 

Osteoglossum bicirrhosum

Silver Arowana

Broward, Monroe, & Osceola counties

Failed

PANGASIIDAE

SHARK CATFISHES

 

 

Pangasianodon hypophthalmus

Iridescent Shark

Hillsborough County, elsewhere

Failed

PERCIDAE

PERCHES AND DARTERS

 

 

Perca flavescens

Yellow Perch

Gadsden & Liberty counties, Apalachicola drainage

Established

Sander canadensis

Sauger

Gadsden County

Established

Sander vitreus

Walleye

Orange County

Failed

PIMELODIDAE

LONG-WHISKERED CATFISHES

 

 

Leiarius marmoratus

(no common name)

Miami-Dade County

Unknown

Phractocephalus hemioliopterus

Redtail Catfish

Bay County, elsewhere

Failed

POECILIIDAE

LIVEBEARERS

 

 

Belonesox belizanus

Pike Killifish

Much of southern FL

Established (throughout)

Gambusia affinis

Western Mosquitofish

Alachua County

Failed

Poecilia kykesis

Péten Molly

Hillsborough & Palm Beach counties

Failed

Poecilia latipunctata

Tamesí Molly

Hillsborough County

Failed

Poecilia reticulata

Guppy

Alachua, Brevard, Hillsborough, & Palm Beach counties

Unknown (Alachua Co.)

Failed (Brevard Co.)

Extirpated (Hillsborough & Palm Beach Co.)

Poecilia sphenops

Mexican Molly

Not specified

Failed

Xiphophorus hellerii

Green Swordtail

Brevard, Hillsborough, Indian River, Manatee, Palm Beach, Polk, & St. Johns counties

Established (throughout)

Xiphophorus hellerii x X. maculatus

Red Swordtail

Brevard & Hillsborough counties

Established

Xiphophorus hellerii x X. variatus

Platyfish/Swordtail

Not specified

Locally established

Xiphophorus maculatus

Southern Platyfish

Alachua, Brevard, Hillsborough, Indian River, Manatee, Palm Beach, & St. Lucie counties

Established (throughout except Indian River & Manatee Co.)

Unknown (Indian River & Manatee Co.)

Xiphophorus sp.

Platyfish

Brevard & Hillsborough counties

Unknown (Brevard Co.)

Established (Hillsborough Co.)

Xiphophorus variatus

Variable Platyfish

Alachua, Brevard,  Hillsborough, Manatee, Marian, Miami-Dade, & Palm Beach counties

Established (throughout)

Xiphophorus xiphidium

Swordtail Platyfish

Not specified

Collected

POLYODONTIDAE

PADDLEFISHES

 

 

Polyodon spathula

Paddlefish

Jackson County & Apalachicola River

Failed

POLYPTERIDAE

BICHIRS

 

 

Polypterus delhezi

Barred Bichir

Broward County

Failed

POMACANTHIDAE

ANGELFISHES

 

 

Pomacanthus annularis

Blue Ringed Angelfish

Broward County

Unknown

Pomacanthus asfur

Arabian Angel

Broward County

Unknown

Pomacanthus imperator

Emperor Angelfish

Broward & Miami-Dade counties

Unknown

Pomacanthus maculosus

Yellowbar Angelfish

Broward & Palm Beach counties

Unknown

Pomacanthus semicirculatus

Semicircle Angelfish

Broward & Palm Beach counties

Unknown

Pomacanthus xanthometopon

Bluefaced Angel

Broward County

Unknown

POMACENTRIDAE

DAMSELFISHES

 

 

Dascyllus aruanus

Whitetail Damselfish

Palm Beach County

Eradicated

Dascyllus trimaculatus

Three Spot Damselfish

Palm Beach County

Unknown

Salmonidae

Salmon and Trout

 

 

Oncorhynchus mykiss

Rainbow Trout

Okaloosa & Walton counties

Stocked (1968)

Salmo trutta

Brown Trout

Not specified

Failed

SCATOPHAGIDAE

SCATS

 

 

Scatophagus argus

Scat

Levy & Martin counties

Collected

SCORPAENIDAE

SCORPIONFISHES

 

 

Pterois volitans &

P. miles (combined here due to morphological similarity)

Red Lionfish &

Devil Firefish

Throughout much of the Atlantic coast of Florida, nearshore to at least 60 miles offshore, less commonly encountered along the Gulf coast

Established (Atlantic coast)

Likely established (Gulf coast [see Schofeild 2010 for more info.])

Serranidae

Sea Basses

 

 

Cephalopholis argus

Peacock Hind

Broward, Monroe, & Palm Beach counties

Unknown

Chromileptes altivelis

Panther Grouper

Brevard, Broward, Palm Beach, & Pinellas counties

Unknown

Epinephelus ongus

White-Streaked Grouper

Palm Beach County

Unknown

SYNBRANCHIDAE

SWAMP EELS

 

 

Monopterus albus

Asian Swamp Eel

Hillsborough, Manatee, & Miami-Dade counties

Established (throughout)

TETRAODONTIDAE

PUFFERS

 

 

Arothron diadematus

Masked Pufferfish

Palm Beach County

Failed

ZANCLIDAE

MOORISH IDOLS

 

 

Zanclus cornutus

Moorish Idol

Monroe & Palm Beach counties

Unknown

Sources: Schofield (2010), USGS Nonindigenous Aquatic Species online database (http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/SpeciesList.aspx?group=Fishes&state=FL&Sortby=1)

Exhibit 3 of JCS Introduced Fishes Writeup 012815

Below is a link to an interactive map showing the spread of the Red Lionfish and the Devil Firefish in the western North Atlantic from the 1980s to 2013:

http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/FactSheets/LionfishAnimation.aspx

Sources:

Adams, C.R. and N.M. Steigerwalt.  2010.  Research Needs and Logistic Impediments in Restoration, Enhancement, and Management Projects: A Survey of Land Managers. Publication ENH1161 [online resource]. Environmental Horticulture Department, Florida Cooperative Extension Service, Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL. Accessed 11/21/10 at: http://edis.ifas.ufl.edu/ep423.

Didham, R.H., J.M. Tylianakis, M.A. Hutchison, R.M. Ewers, and N.J. Gemmell. 2005. Are invasive species the drivers of ecological change? Trends in Ecology and Evolution 20(9):470–474.

Elton, C.S. 1958. The Ecology of Invasions by Animals and Plants. Methuen and Co., Ltd., Strand, London.

Idelberger, C.F., C.J. Stafford, and S.E. Erickson.  2011.  Distribution and abundance of introduced fishes in Florida’s Charlotte Harbor estuary.  Gulf and Caribbean Research 23:13–22.

Sala, O.E. F.S. Chapin, J.J. Armesto, E. Berlow, J. Bloomfield, R. Dirzo, E. Huber-Sanwald, L.F. Huenneke, R.B. Jackson, A. Kinzig, R. Leemans, D.M. Lodge, H.A. Mooney, M. Oesterheld, N.L. Poff, M.T. Sykes, B.H. Walker, M. Walker, and D.H. Wall. 2000. Global biodiversity scenarios for the year 2100. Science 287:1770–1774.

Schofield, P.J.  2010. Update on geographic spread of invasive lionfishes (Pterois volitans [Linnaeus, 1758] and P. miles [Bennett, 1928]) in the western North Atlantic Ocean, Caribbean Sea and Gulf of Mexico. Aquatic Invasions 5, Supplement 1:S117–S122.  http://www.aquaticinvasions.net/2010/Supplement/AI_2010_5_S1_Schofield

U.S. Geological Survey.  2015. NAS – Nonindigenous Aquatic Species [online resource].  Accessed 01/23/15 at http://nas.er.usgs.gov/queries/CollectionInfo.aspx?SpeciesID=963&State=FL.

Villazon, K.A. 2009. Methods to Restore Native Plant Communities after Invasive Species Removal: Marl Prairie Ponds and an Abandoned Phosphate Mine in Florida. MS thesis, University of Florida, Gainesville, FL.

Vitousek, P.M., C.M. D’Antonio, L.L. Loope, and R. Westbrooks. 1996. Biological invasions as global environmental change. American Scientist 84:468–478.

Vitousek, P.M., H.A. Mooney, J. Lubchenco, and J.M. Melillo. 1997. Human domination of Earth’s ecosystem. Science 277:494–499.

Wilcove, D.S., D. Rothstein, J. Dubow, A. Phillips, and E. Losos.  1998.  Quantifying threats to imperiled species in the United States. Bioscience 48:607–615.

 

 

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What Is Side Scan Sonar?

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This blog was copied from an article that was originally posted on NOAA’s Ocean Service Education page. The image above is the side scan sonar towfish ANAMAR used in a survey off the coast of Fernandina Beach, Florida.

What Is Side Scan Sonar?

Side scan sonar creates a picture or an image of the sea floor.  It measures the strength of how "loud" the return echo is and paints a picture.

Hard areas of the sea floor like rocks reflect more sound and have a stronger or louder return signal than softer areas like sand. Areas with loud echoes are darker than areas with quiet echoes. Objects or features that rise above the sea floor also cast shadows in the sonar image where no sound hit. The size of the shadow can be used to estimate the size of the feature.

Pictured below is a shipwreck ANAMAR found in the Atlantic a few years ago using sidescan sonar.

shipwreck ANAMAR found

 

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Word of the Day: Parbuckle

 

noun

 

1.
a kind of tackle for raising or lowering a cask or similar object along aninclined plane or a vertical surface, consisting of a rope looped over apost or the like, with its two ends passing around the object to bemoved.
2.
a kind of double sling made with a rope, as around a cask to be raisedor lowered.
 
 
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Sediment Sampling: What Is a PONAR Grab Sampler?

 

The PONAR grab sampler is the main bottom sampling device used on vessels to study the composition of the bottom sediments of a lake or river.  The grab sampler provides a means to obtain a somewhat quantitative and undisturbed sample of the bottom material. It takes a bite of known surface area and penetration depth, provided that the bottom material is neither too hard or nor too soft. It is called a grab sampler because of the manner in which it obtains samples.

Early studies on Lake Michigan used oceanographic and freshwater grab samplers that were not satisfactory. Research scientists from the Great Lakes Research Division of the University of Michigan devised a new sampler, the PONAR grab sampler, that was first available for sale in 1966. The sampler is named after Great Lakes scientists, Charles E. Powers, Robert A. Ogle, Jr., Vincent E. Noble, John C. Ayers, and Andrew Robertson.

The PONAR grab sampler consists of two opposing semi-circular jaws that are normally held open by a trigger mechanism. The sampler is lowered to the bottom where contact with the bottom sets off the trigger and a strong spring snaps the jaws shut trapping a sample of the bottom inside. Fine copper screen covers the top of the jaws so that the trapped material will not wash out as the sampler is retrieved.

For the full article, including a description of how the bottom material is studied, go to http://www.gvsu.edu/wri/education/instructors-manual-bottom-sampling-31.htm.  

Source:  Excerpted from the Instructor’s Manual on Bottom Sampling and used with permission from Annis Water Resources Institute (AWRI).  www.gvsu.edu/wri/education

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NOAA Holds Public Comment Period for a Proposed Rule That Will Enforce Marine Mammal Protection from International Fisheries Exporting into the U.S.

NOAA Holds Public Comment Period for a Proposed Rule That Will Enforce Marine Mammal Protection from International Fisheries Exporting into the U.S.

 

NOAA’s proposed rule will require foreign fisheries that export fish and fish products into the United States to comply with U.S. marine mammal conservation standards and regulations. These fisheries can choose to adopt presently established U.S. regulatory programs and fishing methods or they can choose to establish other programs and fishing methods that will be equally as effective as compliance with U.S. standards. In a 2005 report, the U.S. Ocean Commission estimated that the worldwide bycatch rate of marine mammals is more than 600,000 a year. The implementation and enforcement of this rule have the potential to be a significant ‘game changer’ in the fishing industry.

According to the 2014 NOAA Fisheries report, the U.S. (including all 50 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands) imported $20.2 billion of edible fishery products and $15.6 billion of inedible fishery products, creating a combined $35.9 billion industry. During 1999, the combined imported edible and inedible fishery products were valued at $17 billion.

NOAA Fisheries. Current Fishery Statistics NO. 2014-2: Imports and Exports of Fishery Products Annual Summary, 2014 Revised.

Available at http://www.st.nmfs.noaa.gov/Assets/commercial/trade/Trade2014.pdf

Check out the Federal Register to read the complete proposed rule. The comment period will close November 9, 2015.

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2014 Mouth of the Columbia River Deep Water Site and Shallow Water Site Monitoring Series, Part 4 of 4: Fond Memories

Part 4 of our Oregon adventure series is dedicated to capturing the scenic beauty of the Oregon coast and the fun, sometimes silly, side of the job. The comradery that develops amongst the team members during field efforts of this type is one of the bonuses of the job. Sharing the experience of being out at sea for a week and successfully completing sampling operations is always memorable and gives you a sense of teamwork and accomplishment. It is a privilege to have the opportunity to work on a project like this, and it sure beats sitting in the office!

 

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Sunrise

 

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Sunset

 

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Captain Ron "Yogi" Briggs and Mate Jeff Lawrence of the 'Pacific Storm'

 

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James McMillan - USACE Portland District

 

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Robert Mooney (MTS), Seth Jones (MTS), Jason Sietz (ANAMAR) - in deep thought

 

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Holy Mackerel! That looks yummy!

 

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Tired Crew

 

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Life vest works!

 

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The Team (from left to right): Capt. Ron "Yogi" Briggs, Ryan Reyes (Pacific Storm), Jeff Lawrence (Pacific Storm), Jason Sietz (ANAMAR), Robert Mooney (MTS), Seth Jones (MTS), Robin Jones (MTS), Joel Salter (EPA), Michelle Rau (ANAMAR), James McMillan (USACE), and Ken Serven (Pacific Storm)

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2014 Mouth of the Columbia River Deep Water Site and Shallow Water Site Monitoring Series, Part 3 of 4: Epifaunal Trawls

Part 3 of our Oregon adventure series describes the epifaunal trawl sampling efforts that were part of the June and October surveys.  During the two surveys, the team conducted four 10‑minute trawl tows at each of three drop zones inside the DWS for a total of 12 trawl tows.

The objective of the study is to characterize the epifaunal community (both invertebrates and fishes) at drop zones within the DWS, including a comparison of taxonomic richness and diversity between zones and with previous monitoring survey results. 

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Getting ready to deploy the trawl.

 

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Deploying the trawl.

 

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Sorting the catch.

 

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A Pacific sanddab (Citharichthys sordidus) from a trawl catch. Some of the scales have rubbed off. Note the orange-yellow spots.

 

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Egg capsule of the big skate (Raja binoculata) from the trawl catch. This one measured 256 mm, which is rather large for skates in general but is only average size for the aptly-named big skate.

 

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This spotted ratfish (Hydrolagus collier) and smelt (Osmeridae) from a trawl catch were measured and released.

 

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A staghorn sculpin (Leptocottus armatus) being measured.

 

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Boney fishes were measured as standard length (from tip of nose to end of vertebral column).

 

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A scallop shell was part of a trawl catch.

 

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A small octupus was caught during trawling. It was recorded and released.

 

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This large sea anemone retracted its tentacles following capture in a trawl.

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2014 Mouth of the Columbia River Deep Water Site and Shallow Water Site Monitoring Series, Part 2 of 4: Grab Sampling

Part 2 of our Oregon adventure series describes the grab sampling effort that was part of the June and October surveys.  During the two surveys the team collected benthic samples at 40 locations in and around the drop zones of the DWS .  During the October survey, the team collected sediment samples from 45 locations for physical and chemical analysis.  We used a Gray O’Hara modified box corer to collect samples at water depths ranging from 178 to 279 feet.

The objectives of the study were to:

  • Provide a physical characterization of the benthic habitat
  • Assess levels of chemicals of concern
  • Characterize the benthic invertebrate community

 

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Deploying the grab sampler. The ropes helped keep the sampler from swinging and ensured that it reached the water surface safely. The sampler weighed 600 lbs.

 

 

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Emptying a sample into a decontaminated stainless steel pan.

 

 

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An intact sample in the box core.

 

 

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Washing the benthic sample through a 0.5-mm-mesh sieve box.

 

 

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The remaining material (organisms plus coarse sediment) was decanted into a jar and fixed with 10% buffered formalin solution.  Sample organisms were later taxonomically determined at the lab.

 

 

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Homogenizing a sediment sample prior to containerizing in glass sample jars.

 

 

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An unlucky Dungeness crab caught in the box corer. 

 

 

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The box corer stand also makes a nice throne.

 

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Bryde’s Whales in the Gulf of Mexico May Receive Endangered Species Protection

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Getting to Know the Bryde’s Whale

The Bryde’s whale (Balaenoptera edeni) is a tropical member of the baleen family and can be found around the globe between 40°N and 40°S. The Bryde’s whale is represented by two subspecies that live in different regions: Balaenoptera edeni are found in the Western Pacific, coasts of Asia, and possibly Australia, and the Balaenoptera brydei are found in the Atlantic, Pacific and Indian oceans and in coastal South Africa. The last abundance survey performed in the Gulf of Mexico was in 2009 and found only 33 remaining Bryde’s whales.

Bryde’s Whale Protection Movement

In September 2014, the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) filed a petition to the National Marine Fisheries Service (NMFS) requesting that the Gulf of Mexico population of the Bryde’s whale be listed as ‘endangered’ under the Endangered Species Act.  During the first week of April 2015, NMFS stated that there is sufficient scientific evidence to consider granting protected status and has announced the start of a 90-day findings petition to solicit any additional information from interested parties.

Current Protections

Currently, the Bryde’s whale is protected under the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA), which prohibits (with certain exceptions)

  • The “take” of marine mammals in U.S. waters and by U.S. citizens on the high seas
  • The importation of marine mammals and marine mammal products into the U.S.

Increased Protections

If the Bryde’s whale becomes listed as endangered, the species would receive much more protection, including.

  • designations of critical habitats
  • recovery plans
  • initiatives such as grants for state conservation efforts
  • increased co-operations internationally and in the private sector and potential funding for authorized research

Federal Register 90-Day Finding Document

NOAA Fisheries; Office of Protected Resources: Bryde's Whale

 

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Public Forum for Land and Water Conservation Pertaining to Florida’s Amendment 1 to Be Held This Thursday

Public Forum for Land and Water Conservation Pertaining to Florida’s Amendment 1 to Be Held This Thursday

The Gainesville Sun will be holding a forum to discuss land and water conservation and other topics.  More information as quoted from The Gainesville Sun follows.

The Gainesville Sun is holding a forum on land and water conservation, including a discussion of how state lawmakers are planning to spend Amendment 1 money.

The forum will be held March 19 at 7 p.m. at the University of Florida’s Pugh Hall. The event and parking are free and open to the public.

The event will include a panel discussion featuring Ramesh Buch, who manages the Alachua County Forever land conservation program; Greg Galpin, a Plum Creek Timber Company official who has worked on local conservation easements; Pegeen Hanrahan, former Gainesville mayor and deputy director of the Amendment 1 campaign; and Charlie Houder, who spent 28 years in public land acquisition and management with the Suwannee and St. Johns River water management districts. Sun editorial page editor Nathan Crabbe will moderate the discussion.

Suggested questions may be sent to him at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.. There will also be an opportunity for audience questions at the event. The event is being sponsored by The Gainesville Sun and UF's Bob Graham Center for Public Service. It will be streamed live at http://www.bobgrahamcenter.ufl.edu.”

Photo above taken on the Silver River in Ocala Florida courtesy of www.wikimediacommons.com.

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EPA Proposes 90 Day Public Comment Period Concerning Revisions to the National Contingency Plan; Subpart J which Allows the Use of Oil-Dispersing Agents during Oil Spills

EPA Proposes 90 Day Public Comment Period Concerning Revisions to the National Contingency Plan; Subpart J which Allows the Use of Oil-Dispersing Agents during Oil Spills

 

On January 22, 2015, EPA released proposed revisions to the National Contingency Plan; specifically Subpart J (Product Schedule) which governs the use of spill-mitigating substances (including dispersants and other biological and chemical agents) in response to oil discharged into navigable U.S. waters. The agency’s proposal adds new criteria to the NCP Product Schedule, revises toxic testing protocols; amends requirements for authority notifications, monitoring, and data reporting; and clarifies the evaluations needed to remove products from the schedule. The last revision to the National Contingency Plan occurred in response to the passage of the Oil Pollution Act of 1990. To learn more, check out the Subpart J Proposed Rule Summary.

Public comments will be accepted only through the official docket: EPA-HA-OPA-2006-0090.

Photo above courtesy of NASA's Tara Satellites. The photo was taken on May 24, 2010 of Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill.

 

 

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Dredging Today Featured a Video from Jacksonville Port Authorities; “Building a Better Future: Deepening the St. Johns”

Dredging Today Featured a Video from Jacksonville Port Authorities; “Building a Better Future: Deepening the St. Johns”

The Jacksonville Port Authority (JAXPORT) has created a video explaining exactly what ‘all the hype’ is about in America’s ports today. The video is geared specifically towards JAXPORT, but you can easily imagine how this could affect all U.S. ports. First and foremost, think of ongoing improvements to the Panama Canal: an additional set of locks (creating room for more ships to enter and exit the canal) and an increased ship size, or PANAMAX vessels. Now envision how it’s in America’s best interest to allow these larger ships to enter our ports. ANAMAR is honored to be involved in many of the necessary sampling efforts in major U.S. ports in preparation for handling the PANAMAX ships, and we are excited to watch the growth that’s occurring in our ports.  Check out the video to learn exactly what ‘all the hype’ is about! 

 

 

 

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ANAMAR's Recent Work Profiled in International Dredging Review

ANAMAR's Recent Work Profiled in International Dredging Review

ANAMAR’s recent work with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers–Jacksonville District to sample Jacksonville Harbor has been profiled in International Dredging Review.  The project is part of the Jacksonville Harbor Deepening, one of the five major ports mentioned in President Obama’s “We Can’t Wait” initiative from 2012.  Check out the International Dredging Review news article to learn more!

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Florida FWC Is Offering a No-Cost Gulf Reef Fish Anglers License in Trade for Information Concerning Certain Catch Species

Florida FWC Is Offering a No-Cost Gulf Reef Fish Anglers License in Trade for Information Concerning Certain Catch Species

 

FWC has moved forward in trying to obtain more data concerning certain Gulf reef fish by offering a no-cost Gulf Reef Anglers fishing license in trade for information concerning certain species. Through this program FWC will be able to contact Gulf Reef Fish Anglers and gather information concerning their catch in order to gain a better understanding of what is happening below the water’s surface.

If you are interested in obtaining one of these no-cost licenses, simply follow the instructions and complete the online Gulf Reef Fish Angler's License Form before April 1, 2015. After April 1, this license will be mandatory for all anglers who are fishing from a private boat off Florida’s Gulf coast (excluding Monroe County) with intentions to harvest or possess one or more of the following fish reef species:

  • red snapper
  • gag
  • greater amberjack
  • lesser amberjack
  • banded rudderfish
  • almaco jack
  • red grouper
  • black grouper
  • vermilion snapper
  • gray triggerfish

Visit the FWC website for more information.

 

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President Obama Decrees North Aleutian Basin and Bristol Bay off Limits to Oil and Gas Drilling

 

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On December 16 President Obama signed a presidential memorandum that will indefinitely protect Bristol Bay along with the Northern Aleutian Basin located in the Bering Sea just north of the Alaskan peninsula. “Bristol Bay has supported Native Americans in the Alaska region for centuries,” Obama stated in a video released by the White House. “It supports about $2 billion in the commercial fishing industry, supplies America with forty percent of its wild-caught seafood. It is a beautiful natural wonder, and it’s something that’s too precious for us to just be putting out to the highest bidder.”

 

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Read more at: http://indiancountrytodaymedianetwork.com/2014/12/17/obama-declares-bristol-bay-limits-new-oil-and-gas-drilling-leases-158329

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Florida vs. Georgia Lawsuit Over Low Water Levels in Apalachicola Bay to be Settled in U.S. Supreme Court

Florida vs. Georgia Lawsuit Over Low Water Levels in Apalachicola Bay to be Settled in U.S. Supreme Court

 

The Supreme Court decided Monday to allow a long‑time dispute between Florida and Georgia over the low water levels reaching the Apalachicola Bay to finally see its day in the U.S. Supreme Court. Florida filed the lawsuit stating that Georgia needs to cap their water usage of the Chattahoochee and the Flint rivers, which are both main tributaries to the Apalachicola River which later flows into the Apalachicola bay.

“We are pleased with the United States Supreme Court’s decision to grant Florida’s motion and to allow the lawsuit against Georgia to move forward,” stated Florida’s Attorney General Pam Bondi in a recent press release concerning the lawsuit.

Florida states that the low water levels flowing from these rivers have a severe impact on the ecological balance of the Apalachicola Bay, which used to be known for producing 90% of Florida’s oysters and 9% of the oysters from the Gulf of Mexico. In the fall of 2013, the Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission (FWC) implemented a new rule in effect for the winter season, allowing no weekend harvesting of oysters due to depleted populations. This year, FWC implemented more harvesting provisions making it illegal to harvest from certain areas in the bay and on certain days of the week according to the seasons.

"The only 'unmitigated consumption' going on around here is Florida's waste of our tax dollars on a frivolous lawsuit," stated Brian Robinson, communications director for Georgia Gov. Nathan Deal, in a recent statement.

Sources:

http://www.tallahassee.com/story/news/2014/11/03/lawsuit-apalachicola-flows-gets-green-light/18420449/

http://myfwc.com/fishing/saltwater/commercial/oyster/

http://myfwc.com/news/news-releases/2013/november/15/acola-oysters/

 

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Understanding the Linkage between Harmful Algae Blooms and Bird Deaths

Understanding the Linkage between Harmful Algae Blooms and Bird Deaths

In 2007, hundreds of migratory birds were mysteriously found stranded or dead in Monterey Bay, California.  This was the beginning of a quest that brought together specialists who helped discover the link between algae blooms and bird strandings. A red tide caused by a type of marine plankton called Akashiwo sanguinea had been occurring during this massive bird mortality event in Monterey Bay, but researchers were finding it hard to link the two events and identify the actual culprit until tests were performed on an abundant substance found throughout the bay area--sea foam. Tests performed on the foam determined that the algae was in fact nontoxic, but the foam created by the churning of decaying organisms was impairing the water repellency of the birds’ feathers (similar to the effect detergent would have on them) and allowing the underlying skin to be exposed, thus leading to hypothermia.

Because of research following events such as the 2007 incident in Monterey Bay, many organizations and government agencies now understand the significance of monitoring our ocean currents and algae blooms in real time, which in turn will hopefully lead to better mitigation of future scenarios. You can read more about the Monterey Bay study at PLOS One, an online research journal.

Sources:

http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/facts/seafoam.html

http://oceanservice.noaa.gov/news/weeklynews/mar09/algalfoam.html

http://www.plosone.org/article/info:doi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0004550

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New App Developed to Alert Mariners of Nearby Whale Sightings

New App Developed to Alert Mariners of Nearby Whale Sightings

A new app has been developed with the collaboration of government agencies, academic institutions, non-profit conservation groups, and private-sector companies to help reduce the chance of fatal ship strikes by displaying near real-time warnings along both the US and the Canadian Coasts. The app will display nearby whale sightings, active management areas, recommended routes, areas to be avoided, and required whale reporting areas. The app also features a photo-capture option to help identify which species of whale is being sighted and a description along with the GPS coordinates of the sighting. The maritime community and the public can report these sightings. The reports will be relayed in real time to leading whale researchers and state and federal management authorities. In some cases, whale sightings may provoke “over-flights” by either the National Marine Fisheries Service or the U.S. Coast Guard, who will then determine whether if there is a need to create temporary speed restrictions for the area.

For more information on Whale Alert, visit http://www.whalealert.org. Similar apps have been developed for manatees and sharks and can be downloaded for free via iTunes in the Apple App Store.

 

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