invasive

Australian Spotted Jellyfish - Phyllorhiza punctata - A beautiful but annoying invader

Phyllorhiza punctata (Rhizostomae - Mastigiidae) is a large jellyfish with a rounded and somewhat flattened gelatinous bell that is clear or possibly tinted brown with many small white crystalline refractive spots close to the surface. 

P. punctata is a coastal and estuarine jellyfish whose wide native distribution includes Australia and much of the Indo-Pacific including the Philippine archipelago. 

This species was recorded only from Indo-Pacific waters prior to the 1950s.  Since 1995 there are several reports of populations of the Australian Spotted Jellyfish in the Atlantic (Brazil), Caribbean, Gulf of Mexico, and the East Pacific (California), where the species is considered introduced, invasive and nuisance, impacting fisheries, injuring swimmers, and clogging the intakes of power plants, among other effects. 

References: [1] - [2] - [3]

Photo credit: ©Ray Froend | Locality: Swan River, Western Australia (2007)

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Orange pore fungus: an invasive species 

When speaking of invasive organisms is common to think of plants and animals, but not in fungus, perhaps because there are few studies that address the issue of geographic dispersal in this group of organisms. 

The fact is that fungi can also be dispersed, as they have a medium, their spores, through which the genetic material of the fungus can be taken to new places and successfully establish, whether be it transported by natural elements (water, wind, birds) or accidentally by man.

The beautiful Orange pore fungus, Favolaschia calocera (Mycenaceae), is one of those fungi that has spread beyond its native range distribution. This saprotrophic fungus occurs naturally in Madagascar and parts of southern Asia. It was first reported as an exotic New Zealand in the 1950s, and is now common throughout the North Island and the north western regions of the South Island.

Genetic studies also revealed that it may have also been introduced to Kenya, Norfolk Island and Réunion Island. In 2002 it was also reported from Italy. In 2005 it was recorded for the first time in south eastern Australia, and currently it has been reported also in North America (Brazil) and the Hawaiian islands.

Because it is spreading, it needs to be monitored due to the potential ecological impacts of its introduction, since it is a saprotrophic fungi. Whether it may displace native fungi is still uncertain, as in both New Zealand and Italy it appears to be more abundant in remnant or disturbed habitats.

References: [1] - [2] - [3] - [4]

Photo credit: [Top: ©Bernard Spragg | Locality: Ruakaka, Northland, New Zealand]  -  [Bottom: ©Marco Bertolini | Locality: unknown]

This is what happens when someone who doesn’t understand science tries to put a positive spin on global warming. 

(above image from a Daily Caller article.) 

The study’s lead author responds: 

No, our study shows nothing of the kind! It is a complete distortion of what we say, and I had no idea this story was running.

[…]

What we do show is that despite indisputable loss of biodiversity at the scale of the planet, in most places we detect a change in the species that live there, rather than loss of species everywhere. We suggest that part of this is caused by species migrating towards the poles in response to climate change, and part to invasive species replacing local species.

[…]

There is nothing in our paper to even suggest that climate change is beneficial for biodiversity.

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