Quirks & Quarks

European Explorers Brought Invasive Species

The Bay of Fundy is home to non-native mud worms and mud shrimp that might have come over with early explorers...

The Bay of Fundy is home to non-native mud worms and mud shrimp that might have come over with early explorers. 

Early European explorers may have unwittingly brought invasive species to the mudflats of the Bay of Fundy and the Gulf of Maine.  Mud worms and mud shrimp are so abundant in both places today that they have become a significant food source for many birds and fish.  But a new study by Anthony Einfeldt, a PhD candidate from the Department of Biology at the University of New Brunswick, has found that both species likely arrived in the dry ballast of ships, quite possibly the ships of Samuel de Champlain and Henry Hudson.  DNA analysis reveals that the Bay of Fundy species are closely linked to those found in the Bay of Biscay, while the Gulf of Maine species likely came from locations in the North Sea.

Related Links

  • Paper in Invertebrate Biology
  • University of New Brunswick release
  • CBC News story
  • Story in the UNB student newspaper, Brunswickan

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