[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]

Mutant Caulerpa (Proposed anti-plant...)

>Date: Sat, 18 Jul 1998 12:24:12 -0700
>From: Larry Orr & Hanna Witte Orr <witteorr at interl_net>
>Subject: Re: Proposed anti-plant legislation
>There was an article in last week's (? or the week before that) Science
>News about a monster sea plant spreading out in the Mediterranean. It
>was introduced accidentally by a marine aquarium in Monaco and has so
>far covered a lot of the western Mediterranean. The problem with this
>plant  is that it gets caught in nets and propellers and can grow an
>entire plant from any little fragment - so you could say that it was
>spread mainly by humans... :) (Kind of like a marine bindweed)
>Don't misunderstand me, I'm not supporting this piece of legislation;
>but I do think that everybody should know what can happen. I also think
>that people with plant aquaria are the ones that know best and don't go
>around dumping plants into waterways (they are great on compost if you
>really need to get rid of them...). 

The plant that you mention is a mutant of Caulerpa taxifolia that was given
to the aquarium in Monaco by another aquarium in Europe.  This species of
Caulerpa traditionally lives only in tropica waters, but does not live in
the Mediterranean.  Apparently, during a cleaning of the Monaco Aquarium
several years ago, some of it was released into the Med and now is becoming
a major ecological problem in areas of heavy boating.  The plant is
poisonous to the local fauna, and so it spreads rapidly without predation.
Once again, boat motors are the primary source of transmission.

I defer to Karen the judgement on Massachussets' aquatic weed problem, but
I would also submit (as several have already) that if the waterways weren't
so polluted to begin with, these plants wouldn't be so much of a problem.
Indeed, the problem does point back at the population in general, although
I think the fisherman's lobby has probably gotten boaters a break that they
may not have earned.  

Additionally, Karen indicated that the only plant on the list that is a
popular aquarium plant is Cabomba.  I also saw Anacharis on that list.

David W. Webb
Live-Foods List administrator
live-foods at actwin_com