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Invasive Species Ride Tsunami Debris To US Shore

samzenpus posted more than 2 years ago | from the are-going-my-way? dept.

Science 173

An anonymous reader writes "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."

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More sushi! (4, Funny)

QQBoss (2527196) | more than 2 years ago | (#40284779)

Anything that brings cheaper sushi, I am all for it! Best way to resolve invasive species problems... first find a way to serve them up!

Re:More sushi! (4, Funny)

Muad'Dave (255648) | more than 2 years ago | (#40284865)

Tsunami sushi....is people!!!

Re:More sushi! (4, Informative)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285509)

Best way to resolve invasive species problems... first find a way to serve them up!

Agreed!!

Please ship some samples down here to the New Orleans area, we can find a way to cook anything....and make it taste good!!

Re:More sushi! (2)

ewieling (90662) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285955)

One word: Nutria

Re:More sushi! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40286087)

It's better than the toxic waste that we're sending to the eastern shores.

Re:More sushi! (1)

ToiletBomber (2269914) | more than 2 years ago | (#40286175)

Would you like a serving of radioactivity with that sushi?

Attention, "Fittest": (4, Insightful)

notgm (1069012) | more than 2 years ago | (#40284807)

Start surviving....NOW!

Sincerely,
Nature.

Re:Attention, "Fittest": (5, Insightful)

ArhcAngel (247594) | more than 2 years ago | (#40284859)

This is the first thing I thought of. Isn't this how nature prunes and purges and refreshes itself?

Re:Attention, "Fittest": (4, Interesting)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 2 years ago | (#40284931)

Indeed, this is 'natural'. Granted you could make the argument that maybe not as much 'debris' would be floating for said hitchhikers to use, but I'm guessing there would be just as much, just 'different'.

Re:Attention, "Fittest": (2, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285627)

Grab a chunk of natural, untreated wood and leave it in water for a few months. It'll absorb water and sink like a rock, then it'll rot. It's not going to be carrying passengers across an ocean, unlike treated everything-proof wood you'd use on a ship or a dock.

Re:Attention, "Fittest": (1)

Just Some Guy (3352) | more than 2 years ago | (#40286001)

Grab a chunk of natural, untreated wood and leave it in water for a few months.

Like the driftwood that continually washes up on the beach?

It's not going to be carrying passengers across an ocean, unlike treated everything-proof wood you'd use on a ship or a dock.

Would those passengers be likely to tolerate the CCA or other treatments over the trans-ocean journey?

Re:Attention, "Fittest": (3, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | more than 2 years ago | (#40286085)

Grab a chunk of natural, untreated wood and leave it in water for a few months.

Like the driftwood that continually washes up on the beach?

Driftwood isn't going to be from the other side of the planet. It will be from much closer and will make landfall before it fully waterlogs.

It's not going to be carrying passengers across an ocean, unlike treated everything-proof wood you'd use on a ship or a dock.

Would those passengers be likely to tolerate the CCA or other treatments over the trans-ocean journey?

If the wood is just being used as a substrate and not as a nutrition source, quite likely.

Re:Attention, "Fittest": (0, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40284989)

I believe the concern here is mostly due to the amount of man-made debris, thus increasing the odds of invasive species transfer to well beyond what would have been found in nature. Just because "survival of the fittest" is the way nature works, doesn't mean that trying to spur on a battle royal of all the world's species is a good thing.

Re:Attention, "Fittest": (3, Insightful)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285553)

I believe the concern here is mostly due to the amount of man-made debris, thus increasing the odds of invasive species transfer to well beyond what would have been found in nature. Just because "survival of the fittest" is the way nature works, doesn't mean that trying to spur on a battle royal of all the world's species is a good thing.

But humans have been doing this since we wandered off the Savannah. Other animals have been doing this since life developed cell membranes.

Nothing to see, move along.

I really, really wish the various governmental departments involved in this would stop tarting this up as some Godzilla-spawned catastrophe. The hundreds of thousands of ship hulls that have discharged ballast water in foreign ports for the past 5 centuries have done more to speed this sort of thing than one tsunami. Not everything is the end of the world, even if you can get more funding that way.

Re:Attention, "Fittest": (1)

ewibble (1655195) | more than 2 years ago | (#40286613)

I agree, contents join, and separate nature goes on. Nature isn't fragile however a practical species maybe that includes humans.

Re:Attention, "Fittest": (1)

mapkinase (958129) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285721)

The problem is that humans are now as far from nature as living tissue on the metal endoskeleton.

Re:Attention, "Fittest": (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40285797)

Yes, however, normally some species are fairly isolated by natural conditions, and this allows more species to diversify and flourish independently. Bring them all together, and someone is going to "win", while others may "lose" (i.e. go extinct). Keep them apart, and the species diversity is much higher.

Due to our transportation systems, we've brought species together in a short time frame that have been naturally isolated for many millions of years. For example, the invasion of zebra mussels [wikipedia.org] into the Great Lakes of North America was only possible because some (idiot) ship captain didn't flush ballast tanks at sea like they were legally required to do before moving from one freshwater system (somewhere in Asia, where zebra mussels are native) to the North American one. You might say "Well, if zebra mussels out-compete many other creatures and transform the freshwater ecosystem in North America, too bad", but: A) they wouldn't have gotten here without humans, and B) zebra mussels got here, but not necessarily all their predators and pathogens, so they are less controlled than they would be if in a natural introduction. In other words, it isn't particularly "natural". It's the same thing for this barge. It isn't the same as a piece of natural driftwood. It's huge and much more durable.

Re:Attention, "Fittest": (2, Informative)

davester666 (731373) | more than 2 years ago | (#40286049)

"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"

How exactly is this "a new way"? I'm pretty sure there have been tsunami's and other extreme weather conditions for quite some time that are capable of carry live organisms hundreds or thousands of miles from where they started.

Upvote to heaven (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40284939)

Evolution doesn't give a damn about ethics. This is how life works.
Preventing it could be just as worse as helping it.

Either way, it tends to a better life overall, regardless of an individual.
Being conscious sucks. More at 11.

Invasive Species are No Problem for Nature (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40284943)

Start surviving....NOW!

Sincerely, Nature.

Hmmm, you know Nature is not afraid of what will happen when these unnaturally treated pieces of wood acts as rafts for any species to traverse an ocean. Perhaps you should share some genuine concern for the effect it will have on humans. Case studies you might care to research: kudzu [wikipedia.org] , zebra mussel [wikipedia.org] , Asian carp [wikipedia.org] and actually a lot of organisms like rats and weeds that currently traverse the Americas were brought over accidentally on ships. The full effect of them is lost to time and the Native American's knowledge of what used to be available.

Re:Invasive Species are No Problem for Nature (1)

Nerdfest (867930) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285261)

Adapting to new environments isn't just for other species.

Re:Invasive Species are No Problem for Nature (3, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285565)

Adapting to new environments isn't just for other species.

It's the law.

Re:Invasive Species are No Problem for Nature (2)

Yvanhoe (564877) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285907)

And growing the ability to anticipate and favor the changes we prefer is what will make us fit to survive or not.

Re:Invasive Species are No Problem for Nature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40285745)

Asian carps grow fast, taste good when cook fresh. In general, fishes are efficiency converting feed to food protein. So, the best solution is treat them as a food source for humans.

Re:Invasive Species are No Problem for Nature (1)

eugene ts wong (231154) | more than 2 years ago | (#40286505)

You can also use them as pet food. It would be nice if there were a way to harvest them for fuel and fertilizer, as well.

Re:Invasive Species are No Problem for Nature (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40286221)

In adversity there is opportunity.

Kudzu is edible.
So are mussels.
And carp.

People at GATech are looking at ways to make fuel and food rfom kudzu. Then the pest that's all over the state becomes a resource. People who get hired to clear it out start making money on both ends much like recyclers...paid to haul it off, and paid to drop it off.

Re:Invasive Species are No Problem for Nature (1)

i.r.id10t (595143) | more than 2 years ago | (#40286581)

2 of your 3 examples were *intentionally* introduced. Add snakeheads and various cichlid species to your list... and the snake issue in the everglades, etc.

More "naturally caused" introductions - like a piece of flotsam/jetsam floating across the ocean - are just that - natural.

"break the earth's natural barriers" (3, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40284813)

It seems like Tsunamis have always been around, and have always been a way for such things to happen. How is this new? How is this against nature?

Re:"break the earth's natural barriers" (4, Interesting)

Relayman (1068986) | more than 2 years ago | (#40284921)

Floating docks the size of boxcars are a more recent development.

Re:"break the earth's natural barriers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40285343)

Yes, there was no such thing as flotsam and jetsam before man.

Re:"break the earth's natural barriers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40285435)

but any different than floating tree trunks or coconut shells?

Re:"break the earth's natural barriers" (4, Funny)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285577)

but any different than floating tree trunks or coconut shells?

Have you ever tried to tie a boat up to a floating coconut?

Re:"break the earth's natural barriers" (4, Funny)

khr (708262) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285753)

Have you ever tried to tie a boat up to a floating coconut?

A laden or unladen boat?

Re:"break the earth's natural barriers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40286549)

You could grip it by the husk!

Re:"break the earth's natural barriers" (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285919)

Untreated wood will absorb water, sink, and then rot without getting far.

Treated wood will not absorb water, won't sink, won't rot and will float across the ocean with passengers.

Re:"break the earth's natural barriers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40286577)

Are you suggesting that coconuts migrate?

Re:"break the earth's natural barriers" (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285477)

Not really. A tree can easily be far larger (have you *seen* a California Redwood?), and those things fall into rivers, which lead to the ocean, which leads to...

Re:"break the earth's natural barriers" (1)

compro01 (777531) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285981)

Not really. A tree can easily be far larger (have you *seen* a California Redwood?), and those things fall into rivers, which lead to the ocean, which leads to...

Waterlogged trees sinking to the bottom of the ocean and rotting a short distance from where they entered it.

a big damn sock made of treated wood that won't absorb water, and therefore won't sink or rot, and will happily float across an ocean with passengers is something entirely different.

Re:"break the earth's natural barriers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40286417)

Funny how Kon Tiki made it across the ocean. Those Polynesians msut have used magic chemical treaments on their rafts and canoes.

Re:"break the earth's natural barriers" (1)

Mashiki (184564) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285909)

Sure. But giant washes of trees in the 'near recent past' aren't. And they have dug the remains of those along the east and west coast of the americas, europe, asia and africa from each continent. Seems that nature does a fine job of introducing species on it's own.

Re:"break the earth's natural barriers" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40286093)

Trees and other organic refuse aren't.

But that's irrelevant. Anything large enough that it needs a boxcar sized dock to relocate isn't a dangerously invasive species.

We're worried about plants and small creatures, like zebra mussels.

Nothing New (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40284817)

Because tsunami's are a new thing on the face of the planet? I don't think so. I suspect "invasive" species have been hitchhiking around the world for a long time.

Re:Nothing New (2)

meerling (1487879) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285283)

Neither the tsunamis nor the various storms are doing anything new, it's just that the floating dock was one of the largest things to float over here on the currents in a while. As a kid my parents walked on the Oregon coast picking up Japanese glass fishing floats that had broken loose from from their nets in storms and made their way here. (You can still search for them now, but most of the floats are now plastic, and there are dedicated collectors and resellers that comb the beaches at 2am with searchlights to get them first so you'd be extremely lucky to find one now.)

Anytime a big storm or tsunami (or tidal wave if you like) would hit Japan, you knew there'd be more stuff in the currents to show up over here eventually. It often had growth on it, so those invasive species have already tried invading at about a million times a decade.

Sure it's interesting, and for a marine biologist, a great opportunity to have such a large sample delivered to his or her beach without having to spring for a very expensive plane ticket, but why are so many people going bat-s#@% paranoid over a regular occurrence.

Re:Nothing New (1)

joostje (126457) | more than 2 years ago | (#40286825)

As a kid my parents walked on the Oregon coast picking up Japanese glass fishing floats that had broken loose from from their nets in storms and made their way here. (You can still search for them now, but most of the floats are now plastic, and there are dedicated collectors and resellers that comb the beaches at 2am with searchlights to get them first so you'd be extremely lucky to find one now.)

Why comb the beaches at 2am? Wouldn't it be easier to just ship a boatload of floats from japan?

Maybe patent officers think it's new (3, Insightful)

russotto (537200) | more than 2 years ago | (#40284819)

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.

Tsunamis have been happening for a few billion years, and moving stuff around for just as long. Scientists realize that.

Re:Maybe patent officers think it's new (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40284855)

Not environmental scientists, everything is our fault to them.

Re:Maybe patent officers think it's new (5, Insightful)

rufty_tufty (888596) | more than 2 years ago | (#40284891)

I think the point is that the invasive species are hitchiking a ride on "a floating dock the size of a boxcar". This is new man-made intervention.

Re:Maybe patent officers think it's new (4, Insightful)

pixelpusher220 (529617) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285003)

The world had a lot more trees before we showed up and cut them down. Said trees don't stand up to a tsunami and in some cases are larger than a box car.

The size of the vehicle is relatively unimportant as long as it floats. A tree might even be better since it could be eaten on the way by many travelers, whereas a human made dock probably has treated would that isn't edible.

Re:Maybe patent officers think it's new (1)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285441)

The world had a lot more trees before we showed up and cut them down. Said trees don't stand up to a tsunami and in some cases are larger than a box car.

Barnacles and mussels usually don't grow on trees.

Re:Maybe patent officers think it's new (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285619)

Barnacles and mussels usually don't grow on trees.

Incorrect.

Barnacles and mussels will grow on anything that sits still long enough. Trees, houses, boats, stuff treated with chemicals that require hazmat suits to apply. Anything. Anything at all.

Re:Maybe patent officers think it's new (1)

richpoore (925284) | more than 2 years ago | (#40286561)

They probably don't usually grow on trees because trees usually grow on land.

Re:Maybe patent officers think it's new (1)

chemicaldave (1776600) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285527)

Hence, New World monkeys

Re:Maybe patent officers think it's new (2, Insightful)

compro01 (777531) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285681)

The world had a lot more trees before we showed up and cut them down. Said trees don't stand up to a tsunami and in some cases are larger than a box car.

A tree in an ocean will rapidly absorb water, and then sink like a stone and rot without getting far.

Treated wood won't absorb nearly as much water as quickly, won't rot either, and will float across the ocean with passengers.

Re:Maybe patent officers think it's new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40286635)

Aside from a very few species..
Recently living trees don't float worth a damm.

Re:Maybe patent officers think it's new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40285045)

Mod parent up. So many smartasses here are missing the point.

Re:Maybe patent officers think it's new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40285193)

>[large] floating dock... new...

You're several centuries late.

Re:Maybe patent officers think it's new (1)

The Raven (30575) | more than 2 years ago | (#40286663)

You think that large trees never got lost to Tsunamis? With no humanity around to alter the ecology, forests often went right up to the beach. I bet dozens or even thousands of full trees were lost to tidal waves long ago. They would be ideal methods for species transfer.

Re:Maybe patent officers think it's new (4, Insightful)

Jhon (241832) | more than 2 years ago | (#40284929)

That was my guy reaction, too.

But, huge GOBS of stuff that can float a REALLY long time *HASN'T* been around that long. MAYBE a tree uprooted might make it across the pacific... or maybe it would be gobbled up or weighted down by stuff in the water before it made it across the ocean.

But a weather treated pier? Boats? Weather treated lumber for homes? Plastics? I'd think those might be more likely to make it across the ocean.

Re:Maybe patent officers think it's new (3, Insightful)

tlhIngan (30335) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285267)

But, huge GOBS of stuff that can float a REALLY long time *HASN'T* been around that long. MAYBE a tree uprooted might make it across the pacific... or maybe it would be gobbled up or weighted down by stuff in the water before it made it across the ocean.

But a weather treated pier? Boats? Weather treated lumber for homes? Plastics? I'd think those might be more likely to make it across the ocean.

Exactly.

Stuff that invasive species would've lived on decomposed or deteriorated before they made it too far from their shores (or sank - waterlogged wood from trees does that). It's only in relatively modern times would something that originated somewhere be cast off and arrive at a whole new continent a year or more later still intact...

Re:Maybe patent officers think it's new (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40285733)

coconuts? you ever think of them?

Re:Maybe patent officers think it's new (2)

sgunhouse (1050564) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285409)

Seems to me boats have been around for years, and likewise docks. Okay, they used to use tar or similar to seal them, but it must have worked. I mean, Columbus did make it across the Atlantic, and he wasn't even the first.

Re:Maybe patent officers think it's new (1)

ColdWetDog (752185) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285669)

OK, everybody who thinks this a new phenomena go out and read Charles Mann's book 1491 [wikipedia.org] .

tl;dr this sort of thing (human introduction of foreign species) has been going on for tens of thousands of years.

Nothing to see here, move along.

Re:Maybe patent officers think it's new (1)

CrimsonAvenger (580665) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285687)

MAYBE a tree uprooted might make it across the pacific... or maybe it would be gobbled up or weighted down by stuff in the water before it made it across the ocean.

Can you say "teak"? Sure you can....

Note that if you "weather-treat" a teak pier, you'll just make the wood MORE vulnerable to salt-water damage.

Docks Are Unnaturally Treated to Resist Water (4, Insightful)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285013)

Tsunamis have been happening for a few billion years, and moving stuff around for just as long. Scientists realize that.

The problem are the man-made materials and treated woods that will survive an ocean voyage where all other natural materials would not.

When a floating dock the size of a boxcar washed up on a sandy beach in Oregon

Docks survive for so long in water because the wood has to be treated or they would blister, bloat and split and become waterlogged. As a result, when one comes loose it can act as a raft indefinitely. Same goes for plastics and foam that might have been used on houses. If you threw an untreated tree or vegetation in the ocean, it would simply never make it.

All of this will become a moot point, however, when the great pacific garbage patch [wikipedia.org] finally reaches both shores and enables all water based organisms to freely traverse from Asia to North America.

Re:Docks Are Unnaturally Treated to Resist Water (1, Informative)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285571)

1) where does "driftwood" come from then? I'm nearly certain that land-species (to say nothing of aquatic ones) have been migrating all over the world through all sorts of avenues probably about as likely or frequent as the washing up of what happens-this-time-to-be-a-manmade-object.

2) Not sure if you were joking, if so my apologies in advance for taking you literally. Of course, anyone who is interested in facts is aware that the 'great pacific garbage patch' (a colossal and deliberately sensational overstatement) is an area of sea where the density of microscopic plastic particulates is 'as high as' a single-digit number per cubic meter of water. I know a lot of people were fooled by environmentalists' clever 'accidental (?) misappropriation' of a picture of some plastic trash floating in the water into thinking that's what the patch is. It's effectively some water where there's a little more plastic DUST.

Answers (4, Interesting)

eldavojohn (898314) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285977)

1) where does "driftwood" come from then? I'm nearly certain that land-species (to say nothing of aquatic ones) have been migrating all over the world through all sorts of avenues probably about as likely or frequent as the washing up of what happens-this-time-to-be-a-manmade-object.

I grew up around 10,000 lakes and was taught that burning driftwood is a very bad idea as it contains chlorine which is, in part, why they look bone white. If a tree falls into water and becomes driftwood, it usually loses its outer layer of bark and all of its leaves. On top of that, any animal that doesn't like chlorine probably wouldn't survive on it. Go pick up a piece of driftwood and look for barnacles ... usually all you'll find are ants and insects that have inhabited it after it washes back up. And, like you would assume, long ago anything that could live in driftwood has probably long ago made the journey by chance. So the key difference with docks is that they are often loaded with barnacles. Many of them that are in bays or calm enough water are floating boxes of wood that are chained together and simply anchored in the beach. They are flat, they often contain tons of organisms seeking shelter on the beach and when they are in water, they often have one side exposed to air (or they wouldn't be used as docks). Sure, some of these have come loose over time but what you had was thousands of them during the tsunami. So that's why the scientists are concerned and, given the large number of objects you can imagine, they may have good reason to be concerned. I don't think anyone's suggesting you quit your job and walk up and down the shore line throwing GPS devices down for the US to nuke from space but locals should take note of strange new insects or anything if they notice them.

2) Not sure if you were joking, if so my apologies in advance for taking you literally. Of course, anyone who is interested in facts is aware that the 'great pacific garbage patch' (a colossal and deliberately sensational overstatement) is an area of sea where the density of microscopic plastic particulates is 'as high as' a single-digit number per cubic meter of water. I know a lot of people were fooled by environmentalists' clever 'accidental (?) misappropriation' of a picture of some plastic trash floating in the water into thinking that's what the patch is. It's effectively some water where there's a little more plastic DUST.

I was not joking and I would like to simply point out that what you call "plastic dust" is actually matter and some of it is solid and was not there a hundred years ago. I cheated and I didn't say when this transformation was complete so I could be talking about fifty years or five hundred years from now -- on the other hand I also didn't say which animals and some of them don't need a solid land bridge and are perfectly capable of swimming and have adventured far and wide up the and down the Asian coast. Others are insects that just might need something solid in water to lay eggs on and then a food source. Also, let's not make this sound like some nice homogenous even flowing plastic -- it's full of garbage and shit bigger than your "dust" [nationalgeographic.com] (and that's a Natgeo album, not some treehugger crap). The fact is that unless we stop dumping, at some point it's going to get full and solid enough to start ejecting crap into the currents that line the shores of continent(s) and that's when you will need to take notice of transcontinental species migration.

Knowledge is power. France is bacon.

There has never been a tsunami before (1, Insightful)

vlm (69642) | more than 2 years ago | (#40284843)

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

There has never been a tsunami before? WTF?

Re:There has never been a tsunami before (1)

Rigodi (1000552) | more than 2 years ago | (#40284935)

Yes, but the radioactive mutated kinda invadors are the new thing...

A very invasive species (5, Funny)

CdrGlork (1096607) | more than 2 years ago | (#40284871)

I'd hate to see those Japanese tentacle monsters I hear so much about surf their way to the US—I'm not in to that sort of thing.

Re:A very invasive species (5, Funny)

spauldo (118058) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285073)

That's OK. They're into you.

Right.... (2, Insightful)

TheCarp (96830) | more than 2 years ago | (#40284911)

a "New Way" eh? Newly thought about, newly discovered, but, hardly new. I am pretty sure species have moved via tsunami for a long time now. "Drifting on ocean currents" itself isn't even a "new way" for a species to spread.

This "new way" sounds similar to the way some young people each year get the impression that they just invented spanking their sexual partner? ("OMG she actually likes it, can you believe that?")

Re:Right.... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40285445)

yes...yes she does!
And no....she won't let YOU do it to her!
Back to your caves gamer boyz.....

"Possibly future news"? (2)

erroneus (253617) | more than 2 years ago | (#40284937)

"Speculative news"? Whatever the case is, or what you might want to call it, it's not "news" as it is a speculative report about what may happen or what may be happening without evidence to show it is happening.

I'm not all for that sort of thing while calling it news. This is hype, not news. It's not even good hype as it suggests ridiculous things like referring to tsunamis as a "whole new way for invasive species...[to mess things up]." Uh no... not new... we "might be" witnessing a dynamic of nature that has been going on since before there was a "man kind." (Before you say anything, "God boy" just don't. It isn't up for discussion.)

Will the do-nothing government do anything? (1, Funny)

Relayman (1068986) | more than 2 years ago | (#40284991)

This is another situation where we could have been preparing for this for a year now but it appears that the do-nothing part of government has done nothing to prepare for it. The government suggests that you recycle the recyclable debris and put the rest in the trash! So let the disaster occur and then we will spend billions of dollars repairing the unknown environmental damage. Education, prepare for further budget cuts; you're just not important anymore.

Re:Will the do-nothing government do anything? (1)

Tony Isaac (1301187) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285321)

I hope they DON'T do anything. This is nature at work! If we really care about the environment, we should respect natural processes, like Tsunamis, that contribute to the survival of some species, and the extinction of others. This is part of the natural cycle of life. EVERY living species was once an "invasive" species!

Re:Will the do-nothing government do anything? (1)

P-niiice (1703362) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285561)

Yes why didn't the US Japan Debris Department get their item-by-item inventory of objects that got washed away from japan , track them with their Japan Debris Satellite(DBS) and pinpoint exactly where the stuff was going to land? You tax dollars, WASTED

Don't understand sterlization effort (0)

Immerial (1093103) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285029)

Volunteers scraped it all off, buried it above the high water line, and sterilized the top and sides of the dock with torches.

To me that seems like a wasted effort. One barge they cleaned off... so what. There must be thousands/millions of large objects that made it across (docks, boats, motorcycles, etc.) and they think sterilization of it would help. It's like trying to hold back the sea with a bucket. Hope they don't spend too much money trying fight the inevitable. Monitoring- sure. Control- waste of money.

Re:Don't understand sterlization effort (1)

QuantumRiff (120817) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285601)

The smallest container ships are many times bigger than this dock. And cross in a few days, so they creatures don't have to hold on nearly as long.

Seemingly hopeless cause (4, Insightful)

istartedi (132515) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285047)

San Francisco Bay is already home to a huge number of non-native species according to a local report. Trade through the port of Oakland is one of many culprits. There has been much talk of requiring different treatment of ship ballast tanks (internal tanks flooded with water to lower and stabilize ships).

A one-time shot of tsunami debris is nothing compared to the steady onslaught of commerce.

this size quake/tsunami every few centuries (1)

peter303 (12292) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285057)

I would think this so-called species-invasion would be a fairly regular process. I expect thats how random land animals populated young Pacific islands in the first place: derbis rafting. I would not get all worked up about this.

evolution's rough, get a helmet (1)

v1 (525388) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285085)

This isn't a bad thing in Mother Nature's book. Species that are better adapted have been unable to get to these new habitats due to natural barriers. Now there's a natural event that has brought them in. And now it's time for evolution to get to work. It's not "disrupting" the balance, it's adjusting it.

Countless species have become extinct or had to move to other habitats due to evolution within and from outside their primary habitat. It's not Man's job to decide what species "aren't allowed to take over" a new habitat that WE didn't introduce them to.

It's a shame when a species loses out and goes extinct, but it's happened millions of times and will continue to do so in the future. That's just how nature works. If you don't like it, buy yourself an island and stock it with species that were unfit to compete.

Don't Intervene (-1, Redundant)

Thelasko (1196535) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285111)

I sure hope no one tries to intervene and prevent this from happening. This is not a man made occurrence, but an entirely natural one. It shouldn't be stopped, but instead studied. This is a potential evolutionary force that has never been studied.

Yeah, it might have an economic impact. Some fish species may become extinct, and I propose we raise the tasty ones on fish farms. However, interfering with this natural process would be as dangerous as any man made cause of extinction.

Re:Don't Intervene (2, Informative)

compro01 (777531) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285769)

I sure hope no one tries to intervene and prevent this from happening. This is not a man made occurrence, but an entirely natural one.

Right. Pressure-treated wood that doesn't become waterlogged, sink, and rot is completely natural.

Stick a natural log in a tank of water for a couple months. It will absorb water, sink to the bottom of the tank, and then start to rot. It would drift maybe a couple hundred miles in an ocean before that happens. It's not going to be crossing an ocean.

No problem (1)

busyqth (2566075) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285137)

When we catch them at a roadblock, we'll know they aren't native by how they look.
Then we just slap some handcuffs on them and send'em back to Japan.

Oh, no, they say he's got to go.... (0)

Howard Beale (92386) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285143)

Go go Godzilla!

Nuke the trash (1)

wganz (113345) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285155)

In the same vein as "You have to destroy the village to save the village."; we need to destroy the environment to save the environment.

Invasiave Species? (0)

bobbied (2522392) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285247)

Who decides some Species is invasive and what is the criteria for making this claim?

There are invasive species, to be sure, but what exactly makes something invasive? And how is this different from evolution? A more adapted species finds its way into an ecosystem where it can thrive due to lack of predators or by being better adapted to the conditions just seems to be the natural way of things... Unless, gasp, we don't really believe that evolution is a good thing...

Pardon to all the Asian Carp, Zebra Mussels and Kudzu individuals out there.

Re:Invasiave Species? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40286297)

Evolution is a process and it is both good and bad depending on your perspective... It is good at making more survivable species, it is bad for the existing species that are being pushed out. Since we are currently the existing species we would like as little evolution as possible at least in the competing markets. At first you may thing well nothing could be competing with us on this raft so we are safe, but the issue is we are evolved to survive with a certain set of conditions and rampant reduction of bio diversity due to an overzealous species could defiantly cause ripples into our species.

Lets take kudzu for example, lets say we give up and let it go we decide its the national crop and we let it take over all the growing land using it as food. Now in 200 years there is a kudzu blight that kills all kudzu other species will certainly reaper to take its place but the damage to the human populace would be immense in the mean time causing a possible extinction spiral.

We especially in the US are very comfortable with the way things are and any change to the current ecosystem would probably be a detriment to us.

Re:Invasiave Species? (1)

triffid_98 (899609) | more than 2 years ago | (#40286835)

There are invasive species, to be sure, but what exactly makes something invasive? And how is this different from evolution? A more adapted species finds its way into an ecosystem where it can thrive due to lack of predators or by being better adapted to the conditions just seems to be the natural way of things... Unless, gasp, we don't really believe that evolution is a good thing...

By that metric we really shouldn't bother with an endangered species list. However landing invasive species on islands is a recipe for very bad things. (ex. Cane Toads in Australia, Rats and Feral Pigs in Hawaii, Brown Snakes in Guam, Argentine Ants in New Zealand)

AKA (2)

Psychophrenes (1600027) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285307)

"Oh noes! Nature has invented a means to destroy the environment, we're doomed!"
The US should be in a bubble, you never know what the filthy sea and the annoying wind might bring up next...
And don't get me started on meteorites!

Oh Great! (3, Funny)

Widowwolf (779548) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285415)

More Illegal aliens coming to California..My taxes are sure to go up again to pay for their healthcare, schooling and welfare..And there goes more of my SSI

You insensritive clod! (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40285589)

Evolution? (1)

dimko (1166489) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285633)

Survival of the fittest? I doubt tsunami was caused by human intervention, so its all natural phenomena. Now, how is this not an evolution in the process?

breaking natural barriers (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40285649)

Yeah, that happens, also without humans and is how various animals got on small islands. They survive on drift stuff and with some luck they can colonize a new habitat. It's a rather rare event, but it still happened and happens quite regularly. What is way more worrying is the carriage of unwanted passengers in the ballast tanks of ships, as these get around much more frequently.

From somene on the shores of Lake Michigan (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40285729)

The comments I read here are all about how this is natural, etc. etc. I have seen firsthand what can happen when an invasive species spreads unchecked due to no natural predators. First off, as one poster put it, this was the result of an ocean going vessel releases its ballast after leaving the ocean and entering the St. Lawrence Seaway.
See effects of Zebra mussels here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Zebra_mussel. I have seen what they can do to a river. You look at the river bottom and every rock and tree branch is covered with them.
And here's another: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sea_lamprey
In Florida, it appears that pythons are inhabiting FL swampland with the result that native species such as deer and rabbit are disappearing.

About the only invasive species that is a benefit that I can think of right away, though, is the horse.

This is probably how Darwin's finches came about (1)

G3ckoG33k (647276) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285773)

This is probably how Darwin's finches came about, via a big storm or tsunami along South America's west coast.

Think of the big tsunami in Chile a few years ago. It is in fact perhaps more likely that a tsunami brings more debris than a storm, even if I'm not sure which is more prone to bring out debris into the open sea.

A Good place for all the Garbage! (0)

na1led (1030470) | more than 2 years ago | (#40285795)

California is considered the cesspool of this country, so good place for all the garbage to go.

Re:A Good place for all the Garbage! (2)

The Moof (859402) | more than 2 years ago | (#40286575)

Did I miss the memo where Oregon became California?

i don't buy it (0)

circletimessquare (444983) | more than 2 years ago | (#40286327)

in the spans of time we are talking about, millions of years, the idea that a species couldn't cross the pacific until mankind's flotsam and jetsam came around doesn't pass the smell test. lots of natural things float all over the place

Godzilla? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 2 years ago | (#40286763)

I thought Godzilla was supposed to wash up onto the shores of Tokyo...not Oregon?

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