This report summarizes research on non-indigenous species in marine ecosystems of Alaska during the year 2000 by the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center.
The project is an extension of three years of research on NIS in Prince William Sound and describes the progress in documenting NIS and biodiversity of Southcentral Alaska. Previous surveys of NIS in Southcentral Alaska indicated that Homer Boat Harbor on Kachemak Bay appeared to have a greater number of NIS than other sites in the Prince William Sound region. This elevated concerns of NIS risks because of recently increased shipping activity for wood products at Homer and tankers at Nikiski. Sites of successful invasions could allow NIS to spread readily to neighboring areas. To assess the prevalence of non-indigenous species, a team of about 20 taxonomic and ecological experts conducted intensive field surveys in Kachemak Bay on a low tide series during August 2000. Major findings include: Surveys in Kachemak Bay and Cook Inlet found 13 NIS in diverse taxonomic groups, including 3 NIS of hydroids, 1 bryozoans, 2 bivalve mollusks, and 7 species of vascular plants; Taxonomic experts confirmed 4 “cryptogenic species” (species of unknown but suspicious origins) in Kachemak Bay, including a new species of ascidean, a sea star, and 2 species of hydroid; and Field and fouling plate surveys in Kachemak Bay provided new documentation of the biodiversity of the region, and helped develop species lists for the National Estuarine Research Reserve.