Major funding from: North Pacific Research Board
A partnership among UAA’s Alaska Center for Conservation Science, The Aleutian and Bering Sea Islands LCC, Alaska Sea Grant, and U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service Alaska Maritime Refuge.
Our goal for this project is to perform a marine invasive species risk assessment that will provide the most up-to-date information for the Bering Sea and investigate risk factors associated with commercial shipping and fishing traffic.
Our project objectives include:
- Compile a list of invasive marine species that are present or have the potential to establish in the Bering Sea.
- Develop a Marine Invasiveness Ranking System for the Bering Sea that can be adapted for use elsewhere in Alaska.
- Rank the invasive marine species advanced by expert opinion using the newly-developed ranking system.
- Conduct a formal review of the ranking process and associated data products by subject-matter experts
- Develop an outreach program on marine invasive species targeting residents and maritime industries
Methods Summary to Date
Development of Draft Ranking Criteria
A thorough literature review of existing ranking systems and criteria was performed. Criteria elements were compiled from nine ranking systems (see references) and a small working group selected and modified elements appropriate for ranking invasive marine species in the Bering Sea.
Development of Draft Species List
An extensive literature review was performed to develop a list of potential invasive species to the Bering Sea. Spatial data for invasive species were pulled from the National Exotic Marine and Estuarine Species Information System (NEMESIS; Fofonoff et al. 2003) and the Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database (NAS; Fuller and Benson 2013).
To prioritize species for ranking, we used ecoregions (Wilkinson et al. 2009) and spatial species-occurrence data to assign each species a proximity value (Figure 1). A species present in the Bering Sea received a proximity value of 0; a species present in an ecoregion neighboring the Bering Sea received a proximity value of 1; a species present in an ecoregion twice-removed from the Bering Sea received a proximity value of 2, and so on. Species with a proximity value < 3 were included in the priority ranking list. The draft list (see below) includes the 70 identified by the Alaska Invasive Species Working Group (2010) as occurring, or having the potential to occur in Alaskan waters, as well as an additional 96 we have identified from adjacent regions during our review. We intend to at least rank those species with proximity values of 0, 1, and 2 but do have capacity to rank some percentage of the those with values of 3 as well.
Request for expert review
We are currently soliciting assistance from experts in marine invasives or ranking systems, to provide feedback on a) the draft ranking criteria, and b) the draft invasive species list for ranking. We are interested in comments on the content of the ranking criteria (e.g. did we miss something, or are some questions redundant?), and on the completeness of the species list (e.g. are there species on the list with proximity values of 3 that we should prioritize for ranking? Are there species should be on our full list that currently aren’t?).
Documents for Reviewers
To view the current ranking criteria and species lists, please refer to the documents below. If you would like to submit feedback, you may either email Jesika Reimer or Aaron Poe with your comments, or use the “Review”/”Comment” features in Microsoft Word to annotate the documents directly, and then submit them by email.
Copp, G.H., R. Garthwaite, and R.E. Gozlan. 2005. Risk identification and assessment of non-native freshwater fishes: Concepts and perspectives on protocols for the UK. Sci. Ser. Tech Rep., Cefas Lowestoft, 129: 32 pp.
Drolet, D., C. DiBacco, A. Locke, C.H. McKenzie, C.W. McKindsey, A.M. Moore, J.L. Webb, T.W. Therriault. 2015. Evaluation of a new screening-level risk assessment tool applied to non-indigenous marine invertebrates in Canadian coastal waters.
Fofonoff, P.W., G.M. Ruiz, B. Steves and J.T. Carlton. 2003. National Exotic Marine and Estuarine Species Information System. http://invasions.si.edu/nemesis/. Access Date: 28-Jun-2016
Fuller, P. and A. Benson. 2013. Nonindigenous Aquatic Species Database. http://nas.er.usgs.gov/. Access Date: 28-Jun-2016
Gallardo, B., A. Tieritz, T. Adriaens, C. Bellard, P. Boets, J.R. Britton, J.R. Newman, J.L.C.H. van Valkenburg, and D.C. Aldridge. 2015. Trans-national horizon scanning for invasive non-native species: A case study in western Europe. DOI 10.1007/s10530-015-1986-0. Biological Invasions.
Gotthardt, T.A., and K.M. Walton. 2011. Prioritizing the risk of invasive animal and aquatic invertebrate species in Alaska’s National Forests. Prepared for the USDA Forest Service, Alaska Region. Alaska Natural Heritage Program, University of Alaska Anchorage, Alaska.
Halpern, B.S., K.A. Selkoe, F. Micheli, and C.V. Kappel. 2007. Evaluating and ranking the vulnerability of global marine ecosystems to anthropogenic threats. Conservation Biology 21(5): 1301-1315.
Mandrak, N.E., and B. Cudmore. 2015. Risk assessment: Cornerstone of an aquatic invasive species program. Aquatic Ecosystem Health and Management 18(3): 312-320.
Morse, L.E., J.M. Randall, N. Benton, R. Hiebert, and S. Lu. 2004. An invasive species assessment protocol: Evaluating non-native plants for their impact on biodiversity, Version 1. All U.S. Government Documents (Utah Regional Depository) Paper 537.
Molnar, J.L., R.L. Gamboa, C. Revenga, and M.D. Spalding. 2008. Assessing the global threat of invasive species to marine biodiversity. Frontiers in Ecology and the Environment 6(9): 485-492.
Spalding M.D., Fox H.E., Allen G.R., Davidson N., Ferdaña Z.A., Finlayson M., Halpern B.S., Jorge M.A., Lombana A., Lourie S.A., Martin K.D., McManus E., Molnar J., Recchia C.A., Robertson J. 2007. Marine Ecoregions of the World: a bioregionalization of coast and shelf areas. BioScience 57: 573-583.
Washington Invasive Species Council (WISC). Undated. Invasive species impact and prevention/early action assessment tool.
Wilkinson T., E. Wiken, J. Bezaury-Creel, T. Hourigan, T.Agardi, H. Hermann, L. Janishevski, C. Madden, L. Morgan, M. Padilla. 2009. Marine Ecoregions of North America. Commission for Environmental Cooperation. Montreal, Canada.