WUFT News

Beyond pythons, Florida termed “cesspool” of world’s invasive species problem

By on May 2nd, 2013

The Python Challenge isn’t the first hunt for an invasive species in Florida.

Lionfish

The National Ocean Service

Lionfish, a native of the Indian and Pacific oceans, are now considered established in the Atlantic Ocean. First discovered off the coast of North Carolina in 2000 by NOS, they are believed to have been present off the east coast of Florida since the mid 1990s.

The Lionfish Derby & Rodeo has been held annually since 2009, said Keri Kenning, communications and affiliate program manager for Reef Environmental Education Foundation. The foundation is a marine conservation organization based in Key Largo.

The derbies are effective in removing lionfish, the results of which will be part of a research paper publishing next year, Kenning said. The derbies also bring awareness to how dire the lionfish problem is.

The fish has no predators and eat more than 70 fish species of economic, recreational and ecological importance to Florida, she said.

The rapidly breeding invasive fish have spread from Dania Beach — about 12 minutes south of Fort Lauderdale — to as far north as Rhode Island, said Amanda Nalley, spokeswoman for the FWC’s marine fisheries management.

And yet another creature is becoming the new immediate face of species invading the Sunshine State.

Giant African land snails have stirred disgust, worry and laughs from Internet users. Twitter users have described them as slimy, gross and even cool. They’ve been called everything from threats to Florida’s crops to “the plot to a really bad 50’s (sic) sci-fi movie.”

A division of the Florida Department of Agriculture and Consumerism held an early April symposium in Gainesville to discuss how to kill the rat-sized snails.

Whether it’s snakes, snails or fish, more risk assessments should be made before people are allowed to import new species, said Kenneth Krysko, a University of Florida biologist who studies reptiles and amphibians.

“Florida is the cesspool of the world when it comes to introduced species,” he said.

UF researcher Frank Mazzotti said even if his group is fortunate enough to eradicate the python population, other threats to native wildlife would exist. He said pythons are only “the tip of the iceberg.”

“There are other invasive wildlife species that are ready and willing to take their place as the number one problem.”


This entry was posted in Environment and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.
 

More Stories in Environment

Small lopsided fruit from greening-infected citrus tree. Photo courtesy of UF/IFAS.

New Funds Help UF/IFAS Fight Citrus Greening In Central Florida

University of Florida’s Institute of Food and Agricultural Sciences was awarded about $13.4 million to help fund four research projects aimed at finding a solution to citrus greening.


nonnativefishphoto1

FWC Hosts First Statewide Nonnative Fish Catch

The Florida Fish and Wildlife Conservation Commission hosts the first statewide nonnative fish catch. The contest was created to raise awareness and help reduce the growing population of invasive fish species in Florida’s waters.


Farmer Cody Galligan, 35, hangs his tools on the side of the building at Siembra Farm.

Siembra Farm Encourages Sustainability Through Local Community Food System

Local farm practices sustainable farming techniques through community supported agriculture. The University of Florida Office of Sustainability has been working with the farm to provide sustainable food options to the community.


Hydroponic Farm Finds A Cleaner, More Natural Way To Grow Crops

A farm that uses Blue Grotto Spring water is finding a cleaner and more natural way to grow produce through hydroponic farming, a method that grows plants without soil.


Alachua County Commissioner Ken Cornell points to a map of the county’s surface water. Some believe fracking deep underground could cause pollution up on the surface in water sources. “We need to make sure we have protections in place to protect the water supply,” Cornell said.

Alachua County Approves Resolution In Support Of Statewide Ban On Fracking

The Alachua Board of County Commissioners approved two bills that could help keep the water supply safe. The resolution supports the statewide ban of fracking, which opponents say could contribute to underground water pollution.


Thank you for your support

WUFT depends on the support of our community — people like you — to help us continue to provide quality programming to North Central Florida.
Become a Sustainer
I want to support FM 89.1/NPR
I want to support Florida's 5/PBS
Donate a Vehicle
Day Sponsorship Payments
Underwriting Payments