CORNWALL, Ontario – McGill University’s Dr. Anthony Ricciardi will be sharing his insights into the impact of aquatic invasive species hitchhiking their way up and down the St. Lawrence River, in Cornwall this May.
The upcoming special guest speaker for the Science & Nature on Tap at Schnitzels will discuss the changes that occur in a river ecosystem when new species of plants and wildlife are introduced.
Ricciardi’s talk entitled “Pandora’s Ballast Tank: How Invasive Species are Changing the St. Lawrence River” kicks off on Tuesday, May 5 at 7 p.m.
“The spread and impact of current and future invaders are expected to be altered further by climate change,” said Ricciardi.
“For these reasons, the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River system may experience further ecological disruptions from invaders in the coming decades.”
Over the years, the system, also known as Highway H2O, has served as a gateway for transporting invasive species from other nations into the Great Lakes.
According to the St. Lawrence River Institute of Environmental Sciences, no other freshwater system contains as many non-native species, or has been invaded as frequently, as the Great Lakes-St. Lawrence River basin.
Within the past two centuries, more than 180 non-native species have become established in the basin, altering biodiversity, water quality, fish habitat, productivity, and contaminant cycling, in the lakes and in the river.
Cornwall area scientists say most invasions have occurred since the opening of the St. Lawrence Seaway and are attributable to ballast water release from overseas shipping.
Karen Douglass-Cooper, river institute communications officer, said: “Recent regulations seem to have reduced the threat of foreign ballast water, but non-native species may continue to be introduced through poorly-regulated vectors, such as those associated with ‘live trade’ (species imported as baitfish, ornamental garden species, aquarium pets, and food for human consumption).”
The free session is being held at Schnitzels European Flavours but space is limited.