From the category archives:

Field Notes

Defeating Invaders by Eating Invaders

April 12, 2017

In some biology classes, students read about invasive species. Last week, in professor Joe Roman’s course, Marine Ecology and Conservation, his students were eating them. Read more here.

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    Invaders on the Rise

    March 9, 2017

    During the last 200 years, the number of new invasive species has increased worldwide, with more than a third of all first introductions recorded between 1970 and 2014. More new invasions are expected among all groups of species in the near future, with the exception of mammals and fishes. Read the study here.

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      Burn the Invaders

      March 9, 2017

      Marabu is an invasive plant that has taken over much of Cuba’s abandoned farm lands. Artisinal charcoal from the tree is now the first legal export from Cuba to the United States in more than 50 years. Read more about the plan here.

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        Pests for Dinner

        November 28, 2016

        New Scientist reports on the annual dinner at the Explorers Club in New York. Gene Rurka, the club’s resident chef, served grilled lionfish, Asian carp sushi, and iguana meatballs with a plum dipping sauce. An actual iguana splayed out on a bed of greens made a feral centerpiece. “I see this as a way of [...]

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          Bun Lai, Champion of Change

          October 6, 2016

          ETI’s colleague and friend, Bun Lai, is named a White House Champion of Change. His restaurant, Miya’s Sushi, in New Haven, offers the world’s only invasive species menu, featuring dishes made of foraged ingredients that are threatening to the region’s indigenous species. Read more about Bun and the rest of the sustainable seafood champions here.

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            Preventing the Spread of Invasives by Boats

            June 6, 2016

            Boating season is picking up. To protect a body of water from an invasive species transfer, stop by a boat washing station to clean the exterior of your boat, drain all water from ballast tanks, and then dry it to kill any unseen hitchhikers.

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              House Passes Resolution on Invasive Species

              June 4, 2016

              114th CONGRESS, 2d Session, May 25, 2016

              H. RES. 754

              Expressing the commitment of the House of Representatives to work to combat the nationwide problem of invasive species threatening native ecosystems.

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                Eat the Invaders on New Hampshire Public Radio

                May 17, 2016

                Outside/In Radio cooks up nutria and periwinkles.

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                  Eating Invasives in Canada

                  May 10, 2016

                  In Canada, the European green crab and Asian crab have been threatening shellfish stocks on the Atlantic coast, while farmers in Alberta and Saskatchewan are constantly battling wild boars. If we can’t beat them, can we eat them? Read more at CBCNews.

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                    Nonnative Striped Bass Could Lose Protections in CA

                    April 21, 2016

                    Striped bass aren’t native to California, and they forage on juvenile salmon. Should goals to increase their population be rescinded? There’s no conservation need to protect nonnative fish in the area, but is the agenda to reduce water flow to rivers and the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta? Read more here

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                      Land

                      Wild_boar

                      Wild Pig

                      Did the domestic ancestors of today’s feral pigs streak off De Soto’s ship into the Florida scrub of their own accord in 1539? Or did they have to be urged to go find something to eat? All you need to…


                        EAT ME!
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                        Garden Snail

                        Deliberately or accidentally, by the movement of plants and by hobbyists who collect snails, humans have spread the garden snail to temperate and subtropical zones around the world.


                          EAT ME!
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                          Garlic Mustard

                            Alliaria petiolata Native range: Europe, Asia, Northwest Africa Invasive range: Much of the Lower 48, Alaska, and Canada. (See map.) Habitat: Moist, shaded soil of floodplains, forests, roadsides, edges of woods, and forest openings. Often dominant in disturbed areas. Description: Biennial herb. First-year plant has a rosette of green leaves close to the ground. [...]


                            EAT ME!
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                            Prickly Pear

                            Fall is here, and the “cactus fig” is in season. Time to plate-up another widespread invader.


                              EAT ME!
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                              Sow Thistle

                              It’s spring and time to weed. Sow thistle is a delicious invader found throughout the continent.


                                EAT ME!

                                Sea

                                Hemigrapsus_sanguineus_big

                                Asian Shore Crab

                                The first sighting of the Asian shore crab in the United States was at Townsend Inlet, Cape May County, New Jersey, in 1988. Though the source is unknown . . .


                                  EAT ME!
                                  Periwinkles

                                  Periwinkle

                                  The common periwinkle, which first appeared in New England in the 1860s, is now found along the coast wherever there’s hard substrate–rocks, riprap, broken concrete, or docks–from Labrador to . . .


                                    EAT ME!
                                    Pterois volitans

                                    Lionfish

                                    Some say it started in 1992 in Miami when Hurricane Andrew smashed an aquarium tank. Don’t blame the weather, others say; in the mid-nineties, disappointed yet softhearted hobbyists…


                                      EAT ME!
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                                      Wakame

                                        Undaria pinnatifida Native range: Japan Sea Invasive range: Southern California, San Francisco Bay, New Zealand, Australia, Europe, Argentina Habitat: Opportunistic seaweed, can be found on hard substrates including rocky reefs, pylons, buoys, boat hulls, and abalone and bivalve shells. Description: Golden brown seaweed, growing up to nine feet. Forms thick canopy. Reproductive sporophyll in [...]


                                        EAT ME!
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                                        Green Crab

                                        Since the green crab was first recorded off southern Massachusetts in 1817, it has been hard to ignore. A few minutes of rock-flipping in Maine can turn up dozens of them, brandishing their claws as they retreat…


                                          EAT ME!

                                          Fresh

                                          Armored Catfish Meatballs (1)

                                          Armored Catfish

                                          The armored catfish is abundant and destructive in Florida, Texas, and Mexico. Cast your nets for these flavorful natives of the Amazon. Scientific name: Two types have become established in North America: armadillo del rio, Hypostomus plecostomus, and sailfin catfishes in genus Pterygoplichthys Native range: Amazon River Basin Invasive range: Texas, Florida, and Hawaii; also [...]


                                            EAT ME!
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                                            Common Carp

                                            For a bottom-feeder, what is the good life? The common carp isn’t very demanding: any body of water that’s sluggish and murky will do. If the water is clean, and you’ve got corn for bait, try one of these recipes.


                                              EAT ME!
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                                              Watercress

                                                Nasturtium officianale Native Range: Northern Africa, Europe, temperate Asia, and India Invasive Range: In USA: all lower 48 states, except North Dakota. Found in Alaska, Puerto Rico, and the Virgin Islands. Also southern Canada, Sub-Saharan Africa, South America, Australasia, and parts of tropical Asia. Habitat: Common along stream margins, ditches, and other areas with [...]


                                                EAT ME!
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                                                Crayfish

                                                  There are numerous invasive crayfish. We include details for the red swamp crayfish (Procambarus clarkii) and the rusty crayfish (Orenectes rusticus). The same recipes can be used for both species–and many other invasive crayfish. Red Swamp Crayfish Native range: Known as Louisiana crayfish, crawdad, and mudbug, Procambarus clarkii is native to the south central [...]


                                                  EAT ME!
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                                                  Nutria

                                                  Nutria, also known as coypu and river rat, is native to temperate and subtropical South America. It has been introduced to Europe, Asia, and Africa, mainly for fur farming. These voracious. . .


                                                    EAT ME!

                                                    Field Notes

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                                                    Invasive Species Become a Hot Commodity

                                                    By developing architectural uses for nonnative species and timber thinnings—specimens that are strategically removed as part of forest management—architects are hoping to wean the building industry off carbon-intensive materials, such as concrete, steel, and aluminum, while creating mutually beneficial supply chains. Read more here.


                                                      EAT ME!
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                                                      A Menu of Invasive Species

                                                      Across America, feral pigs are on the rampage, wrecking fields of crops, hunting local wildlife to extinction, and even attacking humans. In the United Kingdom, Japanese knotweed is taking over the landscape: Banks deny mortgages to infested properties, and the government regulates its disposal with the same precautions it takes for low-level nuclear waste. Humans [...]


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                                                        lionfish

                                                        Turning the Tables on Invasive Species

                                                        Python bowls and lionfish filets. There are many ways to battle invasive species, but the real goal is to stop any new invaders from getting in–we don’t need more exotic ingredients. Read more about efforts to prevent invasive species in Florida here


                                                          EAT ME!
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                                                          If You Can’t Beat Them, Eat Them

                                                          Can appealing to our stomachs–and our sense of fun–help preserve an ecosystem? Off the Florida coast, the lionfish, an aquarium pet gone destructive, is promoted as food and in spearfishing contests. Check out the story in The Christian Science Monitor here.


                                                            EAT ME!
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                                                            Invasive Species Turned Into Sustainable Delicacies

                                                            “It is certainly a great idea to cook with invasive species, but a challenging one,” Andrew Esterson, a restoration ecologist, explains. “Education would go a long way. Perhaps if there was a demand for nutria it would start showing up at farmers markets or on the shelves at grocery stores.” Esterson’s first time cooking with [...]


                                                              EAT ME!

                                                              “What’s a weed?  What’s a flower?”

                                                              —Dirk Fucik on the image problem of the Asian carp as food, Dirk’s Fish & Gourmet Shop, Chicago