Ballast Water Ecology

The study of ballast water ecology examines the survival and interactions of organisms with their environment as they are transported in the ballast water of ships. Our research focuses on:

  • Assessing the risk of biological invasions.
  • Understanding the survival mechanisms of aquatic invasive species.
  • Identifying patterns of survival which varies dependent on changing physical and biological factors.
  • Investigating what types of organisms are being discharged in a given port system and assessing the associated invasion risk.

Extensive research has been conducted on the biota entrained in ballast tanks and the population dynamics of the organisms during transit. By gaining knowledge of what is being transported worldwide through ballast water, it is hoped that invasion risk can be reduced and that future invasions may be prevented.

Plankton samples being collected from a ship's ballast tank using a pump and net sysytem. Photo by Monaca Noble Copepods commonly found in ballast water from the Atlantic Ocean. Photo by Monaca Noble
© copyright 2012