Monday, January 14, 2008

Week of January 13, 2008

Seaway plans new rules to combat invasive species

Ocean-going ships may face tougher regulations in 2008 as the St. Lawrence Seaway tries to stop any more invasive species from reaching U.S. waters. The Seaway Development Corporation wants to require ships to flush ballast tanks containing only small amounts of water or sediment with saltwater in an area 200 nautical miles from any North American shore before entering the Seaway; and submit to an increased number of ship inspections, performed in Montreal to measure the salinity levels of their tanks to make sure there's enough salt to kill invasive species. Full Article


Invasive beetle attacks redbay trees in Florida

TALLAHASSEE, Fla., Jan. 13 A beetle imported from Asia is spreading around the southeast United States, leaving dead and dying redbay trees (Persea borbonia (L.) Spreng.) in its wake.

The redbay ambrosia beetle (Xyleborus glabratus) is believed to have entered the country through Savannah, Ga., in 2002, probably in a wood pallet or packing case. It has spread into the Carolinas and south to Florida, where it was spotted for the first time last summer in Brevard County in central Florida, Florida Today reports.

The beetle produces a fungus that spreads throughout a tree, eventually killing it. The fungus nourishes more generations of beetles. In Asia, scientists say, the beetle usually attacks only diseased or dying trees. But in the United States, it goes after healthy ones.

The redbay is an important tree in Florida's coastal forests. The beetle has also attacked avocado trees, raising fears for one of the state's important crops. Copyright 2008 by UPI. Full Article

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