A team of 25 scientists surveying New England’s piers, docks and coves for invasive pests is documenting the growing problem of sea squirts as well as a newcomer, red alga, that’s been spreading in southern New England.
The scientists wrap up their weeklong survey Saturday by in southern Maine. Earlier this week, the team visited sites in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and New Hampshire.
The goal is to develop a baseline inventory of marine animals and plants that have taken up residence in waters where they don’t naturally occur and determine if they pose threats to native organisms.
Jan Smith of the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management says the worst invasive species in recent years have been sea squirts, which crowds out marine life on the ocean floor.