Viability of invertebrate diapausing eggs exposed to saltwater: implications for Great Lakes’ ship ballast management

Abstract

International shipping has been the dominant vector of nonindigenous species introductions to the Laurentian Great Lakes over the past century. Apparent ballast-mediated invasions have been recorded in recent years, despite the implementation of voluntary ballast water exchange regulations in 1989. Since unregulated ‘no-ballast-on-board’ vessels currently dominate inbound traffic to the Great Lakes, it has been proposed that live or dormant organisms contained in residual ballast of these vessels may be partially responsible for recent invasions. Alternatively, euryhaline species may pose a significant invasion threat because they can potentially survive ballast exchange. In this study, we explored whether exposure to open-ocean water (32‰) reduced the viability of invertebrate diapausing eggs in ballast sediments. Sediments collected from three transoceanic ships and from three freshwater habitats were exposed to open-ocean seawater. Egg viability, assessed as the abundance of taxa hatched between exposed and unexposed sediments, was not affected by saltwater exposure in any experiment. Species richness of hatched diapausing eggs was reduced by saltwater exposure in only one of seven trials. Our results indicate that oligostenohaline zooplankton may pose an invasion risk because their diapausing eggs are largely resistant to exposure to open-ocean saltwater.

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Correspondence to Sarah A. Bailey.

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Gray, D.K., Bailey, S.A., Duggan, I.C. et al. Viability of invertebrate diapausing eggs exposed to saltwater: implications for Great Lakes’ ship ballast management. Biol Invasions 7, 531–539 (2005). https://doi.org/10.1007/s10530-004-6347-z

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Keywords

  • ballast sediments
  • ballast water exchange
  • Horaella
  • NOBOB
  • nonindigenous species
  • resting eggs
  • Rotifera
  • salinity tolerance