Invasive Species

Over 240 invasive species can be found in San Francisco Bay alone. Invasive species are those that are transported to an area where there are not naturally found. One of the major contributors to the redistribution of marine species is the practice of discharging "ballast water" water pumped into special tanks to keep a ship level. Many ships pump water into their ballast upon leaving a port and then discharge the water and any creatures it contains upon reaching its destination.

Invasive species may prove quite harmful to the native environment. One striking example comes from the cane toad that was introduced to Australia in 1935. These creatures emit a poison when squeezed. Here, the cane toads have no predators; even the largest species in Australia is no match for the toad's toxins. They have been harming and killing native species from mice to kangaroos, as well as small children. Not all invasive species are this dangerous, but they do pose a threat to the native environment, and they increasingly make ecosystems worldwide less unique.

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