International Invasive Sea Squirt Workshop
Invasive "sea squirts" (a common name for tunicates or ascidians, a group of primitive chordates) have recently become a nuisance in coastal waters throughout the world. Species in this group are notorious fouling organisms of surfaces in the marine environment, including aquaculture structures. In Canadian waters, aquaculture industries in Prince Edward Island, Nova Scotia and British Columbia are already challenged by invasive tunicates, and the species have recently spread to Newfoundland, New Brunswick and Quebec (Magdalen Islands). Effects on the mussel aquaculture industry in affected estuaries of PEI have been near catastrophic for the economic viability of the industry. Because of this, PEI was chosen as the venue to bring together approximately 100 scientists and students from Canada, the USA, Israel, Australia, New Zealand, and Europe, in October 2007.
The workshop was held on the shores of one of the most heavily affected estuaries in PEI. Participants were taken into the field for an introduction to the cultured mussel industry in PEI, and observed first-hand the effects of four invasive ascidian species on aquaculture. World tunicate experts Gretchen and Charles Lambert lead a course on the identification of tunicates. Talks and posters followed, on the themes: Biology and Biogeography; Ecology; Impacts, Risks, and Management. The session on Impacts, Risks and Management was designed to provide an opportunity for participation and interaction between researchers and the shellfish and other affected industries, to discuss industry priorities for scientific information and identify critical research needs.
2007 - 2008
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