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The potential for intracoastal transfer of non-indigenous species in the ballast water of ships
Lavoie, D.M.; Smith, L.D.; Ruiz, G.M. (1999). The potential for intracoastal transfer of non-indigenous species in the ballast water of ships. Est., Coast. and Shelf Sci. 48(5): 551-564
In: Estuarine, Coastal and Shelf Science. Academic Press: London; New York. ISSN 0272-7714, more
Peer reviewed article  

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  • Lavoie, D.M.
  • Smith, L.D.
  • Ruiz, G.M.

    A principal mechanism for the transfer of non-indigenous species among aquaticecosystems has been through the movement of ships' ballast water. To date, mostballast water studies have focused on the transoceanic movement of organisms while ignoring the potential for spread by intracoastal traffic. This study measuredthe transfer of estuarine and coastal species by domestic ship traffic betweenSomerset, Massachusetts and Norfolk, Virginia, U.S.A. Plankton diversity andabundance in the ballast water of a coal carrier at the beginning and end of sevenreplicate voyages were estimated. These data, collected over a 1-year period,were used to (1) characterize plankton assemblages in the ballast water, (2) assesssurvivorship of ballasted organisms for the voyages by comparing initial and finalabundances, and (3) test for differences in survival as a function of voyage ortaxonomic group. A diverse assemblage of organisms was transportedintracoastally that was dominated by dinoflagellates, diatoms and copepods. Infour of seven voyages, total abundance declined significantly over the 36-h journey; however, considerable within- and among-voyage variation in numerical response among major taxonomic groups was observed. Despite a general decline in abundance, millions of organisms nevertheless survived each voyage and werereleased into the receiving harbor. These data indicate that ballast water carried bydomestic ships is potentially an important vector for transferring aquaticnon-indigenous and native nuisance species. Thus, future management decisionsconcerning ballast water transport should consider the role of domestic traffic inpromoting invasions.

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