From the category archives:

Field Notes

Striking a Deal with the Weed from Hell

January 27, 2015

After eradicating the water hyacinth from Florida’s Crystal River, managers are slowly starting to bring the notorious aquatic weed back to the famed manatee winter ground. Read more in Conservation Magazine.

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    The Boatman’s Flute

    January 15, 2015

                  Is that the silver carp, Hypophthalmichthys molitrix, in its native country described in the last two lines? The Boatman’s Flute Today there is no wind on the Yangtze; the water is calm and green with no waves or ripples. All around the boat light floats in the air [...]

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      11 Steps to Harvesting Invaders

      December 15, 2014

      A couple of months ago we wrote about a new paper in Management of Biological Invasions reiviewing harvest incentives for managing invasives. The folks over at invasivore.org did a bang-up job of parsing these out in 11 recommendations for effective harvest. Read them here.

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        The 800 Pound Grouper in the Room

        December 9, 2014

        Aquarium fish, sold as juveniles in the pet trade but able to outgrow their tanks, are at a high risk of becoming invasive. See the new paper in Marine Policy.

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          Green Crab Shell Secret Cracked

          October 8, 2014

          Researchers at the University of Prince Edward Island in Canada claim to have found a way to enhance molting in green crabs. If they can scale this up, and drum up interest by local chefs, they may just start a market for softshell invaders. Read more here.

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            Harvest the Invaders: Incentives to Control Invasive Species

            September 8, 2014

            Biologists Susan Pasko and Jason Goldberg discuss harvesting invaders in a new paper in Management of Biological Invasions. Incentive programs, such as bounties and encouraging recreational harvests, appear to be appropriate for certain species and regions. Among the many benefits is the development of an outreach program. “By engaging the public and encouraging harvest,” the [...]

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              An App to Find Nemo

              July 27, 2014

              “Creating a consumer market for invasive species is one of the most successful ways of combatting them. Like cupcakes or artisanal pickles, it can take a lot of marketing and hype to create a demand that matches the supply. The Connecticut chef Bun Lai’s invasive-species menu, which Elizabeth Kolbert wrote about in 2012, includes lionfish [...]

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                Hunting for Alien Bug and Seed Invaders at Baltimore’s Port

                June 16, 2014

                The fight against invaders starts at seaports and airports across the world. Listen to the NPR story here.

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                  Attack of the Green Crabs

                  May 22, 2014

                  Green crabs on the move in Maine and the Maritimes. Watch the movie here.

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                    Clean Boats, Clean Tournaments

                    May 16, 2014

                    Help stop the spread of invasive species.

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                      Land

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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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                        Prickly Pear

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


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                          Sow Thistle

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


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                            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…


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                              Lamb’s Quarters

                              Lamb’s quarters was a popular spring tonic in the South—an early season edible green—but its leaves are good throughout the summer.       Chenopodium album Native range: Described by Linnaeus in 1753, this European native has been transferred throughout much of the world. Because its spread was rarely recorded, C. album‘s native and invasive [...]


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                                Sea

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                                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 . . .


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                                  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!
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                                    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…


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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 [...]


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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…


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                                          Fresh

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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.


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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 [...]


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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 [...]


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                                                Northern Snakehead

                                                His sister was ailing, and the man in Maryland remembered that, back home in Hong Kong, there was a fish that was considered a delicacy and a restorative. He would make a fish soup…


                                                  EAT ME!
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                                                  Bullfrog

                                                  “They live in a wide variety of habitats, colonize new ones readily, and eat everything that fits into their mouths,” says Dr. Peter Moyle of the Center for Watershed Sciences at UC-Davis…


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                                                    Field Notes

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                                                    The Lionfish Market

                                                    In a sign that the eat-the-invaders movement continues to gain steam, the University of West Florida’s College of Business is offering a course on marketing the highly invasive lionfish to consumers. Read more about it here.


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                                                      New Species Invade Campus Dining

                                                      Inspired by the work of the Eat the Invaders project, UVM Dining and the University of Vermont Real Food Working Group hosted a dinner featuring edible invasive species.


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                                                        Invasive Herbs for Herbal Tea

                                                        The ingredients for many herbal teas, including lemon balm, mint, and nettles, have become naturalized in the United States. RateTea reviews a few of them here.


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                                                          Can Markets Handle Invasive Species?

                                                          Marketing campaigns are underway to spur demand for the flaky white fillets of lionfish. The Reef Environmental Education Foundation has published a cookbook in an attempt to get people to realize that lionfish is an option for dinner. Whole Foods has hosted “Take a Bite Out of Lionfish”: live filleting and cooking demos and lionfish [...]


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                                                            Defeating Invaders by Eating Invaders

                                                            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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                                                              I feed him herbs, flowers, more kales and then I stuff him full of weeds. He declares sow thistles as good as radicchio and does some free weeding.

                                                              Gardener Alys Fowler on a visit by London chef Yotam Ottolenghi