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Ships carry seawater in their ballast tanks when they are not fully loaded with cargo, in order to maintain adequate trim, draught and stability, adjust list and limit stresses on the hull. It is now well documented that the water pumped into the ship contains aquatic organisms – which can also sink to the sediments at the bottom of tanks – and that these organisms are thereby transferred from the port of origin to the destination. But it is seldom mentioned that aquatic organisms are also found on the outside of ships, attached on their hulls and appendages, as a result of a very dynamic process called ‘biofouling’.
biofouling; invasive species
Ecology and Evolutionary Biology | Environmental Health and Protection | Marine Biology | Transportation