Friday, May 20, 2005

Invasive Tunicates May Be Thriving on High Nitrogen Levels, Warmer Waters

A rather unpleasant organism -- a tunicate of the genus Didemnum -- is spreading like crazy throughout northeast coastal waters. Mary Carman, a research associate at Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution, speculates that it's doing so well for all the usual reasons around here.

From the New London Day:

Carman traces the growth explosion of the Didemnum squirts (there are other, less problematic varieties previously identified) to the 1980s, when “something happened to the environment, to the climate. Nitrogen levels grew to an all-time high. Algae blooms and algae growth are increasing. We're in a rapid warming trend,” she said. “Is it just coincidental?”

It's worth a read. As usual, the Day does a good job.


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