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Japanese Tsunami Dock Covered With Possible ‘Invasive’ Growth (SLIDE SHOW)

Japanese dock covered in harmful growth
(courtesy Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife)

The largest piece of Japanese tsunami wreckage to actually reach shore is a biological test tube, with potentially harmful plants and algae, according to researchers.

The giant concrete and steel structure, 19 feet wide and 66 feet long, washed ashore a day or so ago on Agate Beach near Newport OR.    According to the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, it contains some exotic specimens known only to Japan, including a potentially harmful Japanese algae called “Wakame.”

While these pictures may be colorful, the growths, especially the ‘wakame’ are considered invasive because when they move into a new environment, they can explode and ‘take over’ a region or body of water.  If you remember history, when settlers moved West in the U.S.,  regional American Indian populations were decimated by smallpox disease, because it was unknown to them — they had no immunity. Plants are the same.  If a new species is introduced to an area, it can choke out or kill off a lot of local growth because the current plants don’t have a way to resist the new visitors.

A group of workers will begin to remove any and all traces of wakame and other Japanese plants from the dock before it is disposed of.  Biology experts and government officials are worried this could become an ongoing problem;  foreign plants, algae and even insects coming over on tsunami wreckage and wreaking havoc with our ecosystems on the Oregon and Washington coast.   As you can see in the picture, those ribbon looking things on the dock are not for decoration.  All that stuff is a buildup of organic growth on the structure!

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