An increase in maritime traffic has come with many consequences, from increased noise levels underwater, to the introduction of invasive species. As Arctic ice melts, even more shipping lanes are opening up, which may contribute to these already serious problems. One study revealed that the predicted increase in sea temperatures by 2100 will lead to a sixfold increase in the potential number of species introduced to the Arctic Ocean by ships.
Invasive species are ones that have been introduced to a new area, usually unintentionally, and establish a major presence in the new environment. Often they thrive because they have access to new food sources, they have no natural predators, or they’re just better competitors. They can cause serious problems in marine ecosystems. Lionfish populations, for example, have exploded in the Caribbean because they thrive in the warm temperatures and none of the native fish know to avoid them, so the lionfish has a nearly unlimited supply of food. It also has no natural predators, so nothing is keeping the population down.
One of the ways that marine invasive species are introduced to new locations is in ballast water (water stored in large tanks on shipping vessels to help maintain stability). Ships fill their tanks in one body of water and often empty them in another, so if there were any creatures in the tanks, they get transported to a new location.
Marine Testing Solutions (MTS) is a new company that provides a unique product that could help combat this problem: ballast water testing kits.
“The presence of any harmful bacteria, viruses and invasive species on a ship can have catastrophic effects, so our highly developed ballast water test kits are vital,” the company writes on its product page.
With more than 15 years of experience in this field, the MTS team has a number of on-board testing kits and comprehensive support systems that help vessel operators maintain not only safe ballast water systems, but also drinking, cooling, heating and sewage systems.
“Access to safe, healthy drinking water is important on land, of course, but at sea it’s even more vital,” MTS writes. That’s why all of their kits are designed to help vessel and offshore installation operators test the integrity and safety of their valuable water supply, while always complying with national and maritime laws.
To learn more:
- Visit the Marine Testing Solutions website.
- Check out Smithsonian’s list of 5 Invasive Species You Should Know.
Copyright © 2014 by Marine Science Today, a publication of Marine Science Today LLC.