Advisor(s): Donn Branstrator
Research Topic/Interests: During the past century the use of ballast water by commercial ships has inadvertently created a highly efficient, global transfer mechanism for non-native species. In an effort to eliminate ballast water as a viable vector, the U.S. Congress passed and reauthorized legislation in the 1990s that requires vessels to manage their ballast water in one of two ways. Ships are required either to carryout Ballast Water Exchange (BWE) by flushing ballast tanks in the open ocean or to perform Ballast Water Treatment (BWT) by proactive decontamination. There has been no systematic evaluation of the relationships between permissible post-treatment concentration limits (propagule pressure) and the colonization success of non-native species. This project evaluates the quantitative relationship between the size and frequency of founding populations of zooplankton and their colonization success. Experiments will be conducted in land-based mesocosms. Associated surveys of the density and diversity of zooplankton in the Duluth-Superior Harbor will define the natural communities used to seed mesocosms. Coupling the survey results with information on ship traffic and ballast discharge (volume, port of origin) will provide an in-situ test of the relationship between propagule pressure and colonization success of zooplankton in the Duluth-Superior Harbor.
Previous Degrees: Biology, University of Wisconsin-Superior; Environmental Toxicology, Oklahoma State University
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