In the fight against alien animals that invade and overrun native species, the weird and the wired sometime win.
Invasive species are plants and animals that thrive in areas where they don’t naturally live, usually brought there by humans, either accidentally or intentionally. Sometimes, with no natural predators, they multiply and take over, crowding out and at times killing native species.
A new underwater robot is targeting the stunning but dangerous lionfish. The robot, called Guardian LF1, uses a gentle shock to immobilize the lionfish before they are sucked alive into a tube. In its first public outing this month, the robot caught 15 lionfish during two days of testing in Bermuda. Top chefs competed in a cook-off of the captured lionfish which sells for nearly $10 a pound.
U.S. Fish and Wildlife officials are using souped-up old technology to catch Asian carp, a fish that’s taken over rivers and lakes in the Midwest. They use a specialized boat – the Magna Carpa – with giant winglike nets that essentially uses electric current as an underwater taser to stun the fish, said biologist Emily Pherigo. At higher doses, the fish are killed and float to the surface. In just five minutes, they can collect 500 fish, and later turn them into fertilizer.
Penn State | News
April 18, 2013
When you look at lovely water gardens in backyards and at businesses — and feel soothed by the serenity they convey — you would not guess that they represent troubled waters for ecosystems in the mid-Atlantic region.
The explosion in popularity of water gardening has resulted in the proliferation of aquatic invasive species, according to Diane Oleson, a Penn State Extension educator based in York County, who created an educational program that shows water gardeners how to avoid giving aquatic invaders a free ride.
Invasive plants tend to displace native plants over time and create an unhealthy ecosystem because a lot of them form huge, dense, one-species stands in which other plants can’t grow. “Animals don’t eat them because the species that would control them are back in Asia or Europe or wherever they came from,” Oleson explained.