Sea squirts, poison ivy and other evidence that climate change is altering Connecticut's environmentTuesday, July 07, 2009
Sea squirts are smothering Connecticut's shellfish industry.In the film The Day After Tomorrow, global warming looks like hell on Earth.
Polar ice caps melt, causing sea levels to rise and swallow Manhattan in a single tidal surge. Hail stones as big as footballs pummel Tokyo. Twisters rip through Los Angeles, destroying skyscrapers and shredding the Hollywood sign. Then comes a deep freeze, and the world is consumed in a second Ice Age.
In real life, global warming looks like a harmless yellow sea sponge. Non-native sea squirts, also known as Tunicate or sea pork, are proliferating in Long Island Sound and elsewhere as water temperatures rise. Marine scientists at the University of Connecticut found that warmer winters are causing the invasive invertebrates to explode in population. Sea squirts reproduce rapidly and compete with shellfish for food and space, threatening Connecticut's shellfish industry.
Like sea squirts, the early signs of global warming mostly fall into the non-life-threatening category: fast-spreading poison ivy and clinging kudzu vines. But that's just a preview of what's to come.
The complete article in FairfieldWeekly.com is here.