When a floating dock the size of a boxcar washed up on a sandy beach in Oregon, beachcombers got excited because it was the largest piece of debris from last year's tsunami in Japan to show up on the West Coast.
But scientists worried it represented a whole new way for invasive species of seaweed, crabs and other marine organisms to break the earth's natural barriers and further muck up the West Coast's marine environments. And more invasive species could be hitching rides on tsunami debris expected to arrive in the weeks and months to come.
James Morris, a marine ecologist and invasive species specialist at the NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, in Beaufort, N.C., said the idea a natural disaster like the tsunami could introduce a new avenue for invasive species is intriguing.
'It goes to show you that when it comes to invasive species, there are some things you can work to regulate and control,' he said. 'And there are issues like this that come up that open up a whole different realm of possibilities.'
via Destructive hitchhikers: Tsunami debris hauls invasive species across Pacific to US shores - The Washington Post. (the newspaper removed this web page)