Meinesz shows Alan Caulerpa's most versatile and
towns on the coast of the Mediterranean Sea depend on a mix
of fishing and tourism. In "Green Invader," biologist Alex
Meinesz takes Alan fishing off of Nice, in waters that
have been fished for generations. Until now, that is. Today,
when fishermen pull up their nets, they are clogged with a
green weed. And there are few fish.
weed - actually a tropical alga called Caulerpa taxifolia
- isn't native to the area, and with no natural predators,
it's taking over the Mediterranean. So far it covers 1,000
miles of coastline.
was first spotted in 1984, most likely released unwittingly
by the nearby Monaco Oceanographic Museum where Jacques Cousteau
was once director. Caulerpa not only ruins fishing,
it also kills other plants by blocking out sunlight, starving
the animals that rely on them for food. At this rate, Caulerpa
may turn the Mediterranean into a biological desert.
If deemed safe, this Floridian slug may help halt the
recently, the weed has been spotted in San Diego, where environmental
consultant Rachel Woodfield is leading the effort to destroy
it. Luckily, the Caulerpa patches are still small enough
that complete eradication should be possible.
in the Mediterranean, the problem requires far more drastic
measures. Meinesz hopes to import a special slug, one of Caulerpa's
natural predators from the Caribbean. Can this slug save
the Mediterranean- without wreaking havoc of its own?
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