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GLIN==> Press release: Multi-state, bi-national Team guiding rapid research response

Title: Press release: Multi-state, bi-national Team guiding rapid research response
Contact: David B. MacNeill, fisheries specialist, NY Sea Grant, 315-312-3042
Chuck ONeill, Jr., invasive species specialist, NY Sea Grant, 585-395-2638
Add Another Exotic Species to Lake Ontario Uninvited Guest List;
Multi-State, Bi-National Research Team Guiding Rapid Research Response

Oswego, NY – Add another name to the list of uninvited guests for Lake Ontario, say New York Sea Grant invasive species experts. New York Sea Grant is working as part of a multi-state, bi-national group coordinated by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory (GLERL) to develop what David Reid, director of NOAA’s National Center for Research on Aquatic Invasive Species, calls a “rapid research response” to the discovery of Hemimysis in Lake Ontario.

A non-native invertebrate species, Hemimysis anomala, closely related to the possum shrimp that is native to the Great Lakes, was identified in a Lake Ontario water sample collected by a survey team from Normandeau Associates, Inc. of Bedford, NH, working near Oswego in spring 2006. Hemimysis anomala was found in Lake Michigan in November 2006 by scientists at the Great Lakes Environmental Research Laboratory.

“We are drawing on the resources of many organizations throughout the Great Lakes basin to develop the research necessary to first understand where and in what numbers this newly discovered species exists in the system,” Reid says.

Chuck O’Neill, Jr., an invasive species specialist with New York Sea Grant and a member of New York State’s Invasive Species Task Force and the national Invasive Species Advisory Committee that advises the National Invasive Species Council, says, “The Lake Ontario discovery included both juvenile and adult Hemimysis, suggesting that the population has had time to establish itself and reproduce in Lake Ontario.”

Hemimysis, native to the Ponto-Caspian region (Caspian and Black Sea areas) of Eurasia, is presumed to have arrived in the Great Lakes system in the ballast of oceangoing ships. Adult Hemimysis can grow to almost five-eighths of an inch in size.

Public Will Be Invited to Help Locate Hemimysis

Reid says the public will be invited to help the researchers identify where Hemimysis may exist. A fact sheet is being prepared to help shoreline residents and Great Lakes users spot Hemimysis, often seen as a large reddish swarm in the water. Research technicians will collect samples for confirmation. Hemimysis move largely at night and are swift swimmers that will test technicians’ collection skills.

New York Sea Grant fisheries specialist David B. MacNeill says, “According to European studies, Hemimysis hides in areas of rocky substrate and may be seen swimming around the water’s edge near piers and other structures at night in calm, clear water by using a light. Research is needed to determine how the Hemimysis will affect the Great Lakes’ food webs and fisheries. Despite this uncertainty, some of the top scientists in North America are already developing a research plan for Hemimysis in the Great Lakes.”

New York Sea Grant will share information on Hemimysis as it becomes available. For the new fact sheet and more information, contact New York Sea Grant in Oswego at 315-312-3042.

A nonindigenous species list for the Great Lakes is online at
http://www.glerl.noaa.gov/res/Programs/invasive/. # # #