Yaquina Bay Aquatic Invaders

Guin Library Yaquina Bay aquatic invasive species display

 

Our case exhibits information about selected aquatic invasive species currently found in Yaquina Bay. There are several pathways for the introduction of non-native species to our local estuaries. Some are intentional introductions, while other inadvertent invasions result from contaminated recreation equipment or careless shipping practices. Many introduced species that are able to reproduce and colonize an area outside their historic ranges will compete with native species for resources. The combination of altered behavior--species tend to consume more resources when occupying non-native areas--and the lack of predators results in population explosions; which, in the case of the New Zealand mudsnail, P. antipodarum, can claim over 50% of a waterway's invertebrate biomass.

Some introductions are benign; or, in the case of the introduced species of seagrass, Z. japonica, possibly beneficial as a supplement to native varieties. However, regardless of the occurrence of benevolent invaders, the goal is to limit any exposure of non-native species in order to prevent the loss of local biodiversity. This risk of decimation is a reality for the mud shrimp U. pugettensis, an important ecosystem engineer and the definitive host of a non-native parasitic isopod that has invaded the Bay. 

Despite what we know about invasive species--likely vectors, established preventative measures, and associated risks--these answers bring more questions. One thing is known for sure, the preservation of Yaquina Bay's ecosystem will require further study, time, and resources.