Little Green Aliens

Invasive species are an especially hot topic among today’s scientific community. Non-native species have been shown to negatively impact the health of native ecosystems, especially in aquatic environments (e.g. Lionfish, Snakehead, Zebra Mussel, Nutria, and Asian Carp). It is important for coastal managers to detect invasive species soon after their arrival so that successful eradication and management plans can be implemented. Therefore, invasive species monitoring is conducted at most NERRs.

The South Slough NERR alone is home to over 50 non-native marine species. Of these species, few are as infamous as the European green crab. As I discussed in my last post, I recently started a project aimed to investigate the distribution and population of green crabs in South Slough. I collected samples continuously for 2 days at my first set of sites. While dungeness and hairy shore crabs were most abundant, I collected 15 green crabs at the mouth of the estuary. Specimens were measured, sexed, and weighed before being humanely disposed of. The data collected from this project will be used to manage the spread these little green aliens and potentially prevent future invasions along other coastlines.


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3 thoughts on “Little Green Aliens

  1. #CollinHoldingCreatures – this is a good reminder not to carry potential invasive species to different areas, or release pets, bait, or other possible vectors. Are you also looking into methods of introduction and prevention education?

  2. Invasive species are definitely a hot topic today as globalization has exploded. With the high cost of eradicating and managing invasive species, and with the difficulty in achieving success with these tasks, do you think exploring co-existence between native and non-native species is a feasible option?

  3. Again, I’m just now seeing these. Better late than never. Haley, I do not see co-existence between green crabs and the native Dungeness ending well. Most crabs are aggressive in nature. The green crabs are especially feisty. Previous studies have show the green crab to push Dungeness out of local enviornments. To answer your questions Sarah, I have not looked into areas of future introduction or methods of prevention. This species has migrated up the Pacific coast with warming water. If only there was a way to cool our planet down haha I’m sure that would help with future invasions

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