Sometimes plants and animals that don't grow naturally in an
area, also known as “invasive species,” can end up in
estuaries—either accidentally or intentionally. This can drive out
“native” plants and animals; destroy the surrounding habitat;
interfere with people who are trying to boat, fish, or swim there;
and introduce pathogens
into the environment.
Invasive species can spread quickly because they have no natural
predators or little competition from other species. Examples include
oyster drills, Chinese mitten crabs, and Brazilian pepper trees.
These and other invasive species often wind up in estuaries as
accidental passengers on ships. Sometimes fish or plants are
imported into the country to be sold in aquariums, raised in
nurseries, or used in ornamental landscaping but make their way into
estuaries by accident.
more about introduced species.
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