Title

Ballast-mediated animal introductions in the Laurentian Great Lakes: Retrospective and prospective analyses

Author ORCID Identifier

http://orcid.org/0000-0001-7264-732X

Document Type

Article

Publication Date

2003

Publication Title

Canadian Journal of Fisheries and Aquatic Sciences

Volume

60

Issue

6

First Page

740

Last Page

756

DOI

10.1139/F03-053

Abstract

Since completion of the St. Lawrence Seaway in 1959, at least 43 nonindigenous species (NIS) of animals and protists have established in the Laurentian Great Lakes, of which ∼67% were attributed to discharge of ballast water from commercial ships. Twenty-three NIS were first discovered in four "hotspot" areas with a high representation of NIS, most notably the Lake Huron - Lake Erie corridor. Despite implementation of the voluntary (1989, Canada) and mandatory (1993, U.S.A.) ballast water exchange (BWE) regulations, NIS were discovered at a higher rate during the 1990s than in the preceding three decades. Here we integrate knowledge of species' invasion histories, shipping traffic patterns, and physicochemical factors that constrain species' survivorship during ballast-mediated transfer to assess the risk of future introductions to the Great Lakes. Our risk-assessment model identified 26 high-risk species that are likely to survive intercontinental transfer in ballast tanks. Of these, 10 species have already invaded the Great Lakes. An additional 37 lower-risk species, of which six have already invaded, show some but not all attributes needed for successful introduction under current BWE management. Our model indicates that the Great Lakes remain vulnerable to ship-mediated NIS invasions.

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