Cuba Studies Invasive Species in Various Ecosystems

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A species known the green mussel is damaging the ecosystem of Las Tunas. This situation was identified through a national research project on invasive flora and fauna that concluded with a proposal for a program of protective actions.

Cuba experts concluded a study on the northern coast of the province of Las Tunas to detect the introduction of a new alien species known as the green mussel (Perna vidiris), which causes damage to marine ecosystems and facilities. The research is part of a national program for the management of invasive flora and fauna, and in the case of the bays of Puerto Padre and Chaparra, in the eastern territory, allowed a plan of prevention and early warning, although colonies were not found.

Amado Luis Palma, specialist of Science, Technology, and Environment in Las Tunas, told AIN that the species travels in the ballast water of ships and reproduces very quickly, so it is necessary to maintain strict control in the most vulnerable areas. The green mussel, he added, throws ecosystems off-balance, displaces other endemic mollusks, and chemically contaminates the infrastructure on which it grows.

Lionfish InvasionSo far the green mussel had only been detected in Jagua Bay, in Cienfuegos; however the results of the national study conducted by Cuban experts, still in process, said that there have been some detected in the Bay of Havana. It is estimated that the green mussel arrived in Cuba in 2005 from the Caribbean, where it was first detected in the 1990s and spread quickly through coastal areas north and south of the continent.

The species is native to the Indian and Pacific oceans, and although in those places it is considered a delicacy, experts recommend not eating it in Cuba, because of the levels of contamination present in the country’s bays.

Also in the coastal ecosystems of Las Tunas, they have detected lionfish, another invasive alien species that is also the subject of specialized studies for its management.

For original article (in Spanish), see http://bohemia.cu/noticias/2013/10/04/tarde/ecosistema-las-tunas.html

 

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