PREP Publications


Introduced species (i.e., non-native species that have become established in a new location) have increasingly been recognized as a concern as they have become more prevalent in marine and terrestrial environments (Mooney and Cleland 2001; Simberloff et al. 2005). The ability of introduced species to alter population, community, and ecosystem structure and function, as well as cause significant economic damage is well documented (Carlton 1989, 1996b, 2000; Cohen and Carlton 1995; Cohen et al. 1995; Elton 1958; Meinesz et al. 1993; Occhipinti-Ambrogi and Sheppard 2007; Pimentel et al. 2005; Thresher 2000). The annual economic costs incurred from managing the approximately 50,000 introduced species in the United States alone are estimated to be over $120 billion (Pimentel et al. 2005). Having a monitoring network in place to track new introductions and distributional changes of introduced species is critical for effective management, as these efforts may be more successful when species are detected before they have the chance to become established. A rapid assessment survey is one such method for early detection of introduced species. With rapid assessment surveys, a team of taxonomic experts record and monitor marine species–providing a baseline inventory of native, introduced, and cryptogenic (i.e., unknown origin) species (as defined by Carlton 1996a)–and document range expansions of previously identified species. Since 2000, five rapid assessment surveys have been conducted in New England. These surveys focus on recording species at marinas, which often are in close proximity to transportation vectors (i.e., recreational boats). Species are collected from floating docks and piers because these structures are accessible regardless of the tidal cycle. Another reason for sampling floating docks and other floating structures is that marine introduced species are often found to be more prevalent on artificial surfaces than natural surfaces (Glasby and Connell 2001; Paulay et al. 2002). The primary objectives of these surveys are to: (1) identify native, introduced, and cryptogenic marine species, (2) expand on data collected in past surveys, (3) assess the introduction status and range extensions of documented introduced species, and (4) detect new introductions. This report presents the introduced, cryptogenic, and native species recorded during the 2013 survey.

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Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management

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