Coming to America: Invasive Species, Ocean Rafting, and Japanese Tsunami Marine Debris
Location: Sitka Sound Science Center, 7 PM
The Great Japan Earthquake and Tsunami of March 11, 2011 sent a vast number of floating objects into the North Pacific Ocean, which began arriving in North America in 2012. These objects — which are still arriving! — brought with them many hundreds of species of Japanese marine life. We will look at the diversity of marine animals and plants that have rafted across the Pacific Ocean, what the implications may be for exotic species invasions, and how the 2011 tsunami debris event compares to the earlier history of species drifing from Asia to America.
Dr. James T. Carlton is Professor of Marine Sciences Emeritus at Williams College (Williamstown, Massachusetts USA) and Director (1989-2015) Emeritus of the Williams College - Mystic Seaport Maritime Studies Program (Mystic, Connecticut). His research is focused on the environmental history of coastal marine ecosystems, including invasions of non-native species and modern-day extinctions in the world's oceans. His research sites include the Pacific and Atlantic coasts of North America, the Hawaiian Islands, the Galapagos Islands, Argentina and South Africa. He is Founding Editor-in- Chief of the journal Biological Invasions, a Pew Fellow for Marine Conservation, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, a Fellow of the California Academy of Sciences, and has been a Distinguished Research Fellow of the University of California at Davis's Bodega Marine Laboratory and the Paul Illg Distinguished Lecturer at the University of Washington's Friday Harbor Laboratories. He is the only scientist to receive the Interagency Recognition Award from the United States Federal Government for his national and international work to reduce the impacts of exotic species invasions in the sea. He was Co-Chair of the Marine Biodiversity Committee of the National Academy of Sciences, which produced Understanding Marine Biodiversity: A Research Agenda for the Nation, and in 2011 he was Co-Chair of the National Academy of Sciences / National Research Council committee advising on setting standards for ballast water to reduce invasive species introductions. Jim wrote and edited a monograph on the marine life of the Pacific Coast (Intertidal invertebrates from Central California to Oregon, University of California Press, 2007, 1001 pp.). In 2007, the James T. Carlton Marine Science Center, an 8000-square foot research and teaching facility of the Williams-Mystic Program, was dedicated in his honor. In 2013 he received the Fellows Medal of the California Academy of Sciences. He has authored or co-authored more than 150 peer-reviewed publications and co-edited / authored 6 books. Jim received his undergraduate degree in Paleontology from the University of California-Berkeley, his Ph.D. in Ecology from the University of California-Davis, and did his postdoctoral work at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution.