Marine invasive species are species that are not known to naturally occur in a certain area but have been introduced by humans at some point in time. These animals, plants, and algae—like the European green crab (Carcinus maenas) and the green fleece seaweed (Codium fragile)—have forever changed the ecology and economy of Massachusetts. To promote understanding, effective monitoring, and management of these species, CZM has published or funded the publications described below, which are listed under the following categories: general information on marine invasive species, management, identification, monitoring, Rapid Assessment Surveys, impacts, and prevention. See CZM Publications for the full list of materials published by CZM.
(Note: Any views or opinions presented in publications prepared for CZM are solely those of the author[s] and do not necessarily represent those of the Massachusetts Office of Coastal Zone Management, the Executive Office of Energy and Environmental Affairs, or the Commonwealth of Massachusetts. Please see our website policies.)
General Information on Marine Invasive Species
- Marine Invasive Species - State of the Gulf of Maine Report (PDF, 2 MB) - This paper, written by CZM and published in 2010 by the Gulf of Maine Council on the Marine Environment, provides a review of established marine invasive species in the Gulf of Maine and describes impacts, vectors, emerging threats, and management responses.
- Defending Massachusetts Against Biological Invaders - This article on page 33 of the Summer 2002 Coastlines (PDF, 4 MB) provides an overview of the marine aquatic species issue.
- Managing Seaweed Accumulations on Recreational Beaches (PDF, 2 MB) - This guidance published by CZM in 2013 was developed to help local officials and beach managers effectively address seaweed accumulations on recreational beaches while protecting coastal resources. It focuses on how seaweed is a natural and important part of the marine ecosystem, but when accumulations occur on recreational beaches, conflicts can arise that need to be addressed.
- Massachusetts Aquatic Invasive Species Management Plan (PDF, 2 MB) - In 2002, the Aquatic Invasive Species Working Group—a partnership of state, federal ,and nonprofit managers—released this plan to manage threats from aquatic invaders. Major components of the plan include a description of existing state and federal authorities and programs, a focus on the impacts of invasive species and management priorities, management objectives and actions, a five-year strategy, and an implementation timeline.
- Identification Cards - To help detect and monitor marine invasive species, CZM funded the development of 23 species identification cards for marine invaders in New England, created by CZM and Salem Sound Coastwatch.
- Non-Native Seaweed in Massachusetts (PDF, 2 MB) - Published by CZM in 2013, this fact sheet summarizes information on invasive seaweed species in Massachusetts, their ecology, and potential impacts to the marine ecosystem and economy.
- Monitoring for Marine Invasive Species: Guidance and Protocols for Volunteer Monitoring Groups (PDF, 2 MB) - Published in 2011, this is the primary guidance document for CZM’s Marine Invader Monitoring and Information Collaborative (MIMIC), a network of community groups and citizens that use a standard monitoring protocol to survey for marine invasive species. The document includes information on site selection, monitoring protocols, safety, and identification resources.
- MIMIC Story Map - This story map, launched in 2019, provides photos and descriptions of species monitored, maps of where each species has been observed, and additional information.
- The Volunteer Monitor: Invasive Species (PDF, 1 MB) - The Spring 2009 edition of this newsletter is focused on aquatic invasive species, including CZM’s efforts to monitor for marine invasive species (page 17).
Rapid Assessment Surveys
- Report on the 2013 Rapid Assessment Survey of Marine Species at New England Bays and Harbors (PDF, 55 MB) - This report published by CZM in 2014 summarizes the results of the 2013 Rapid Assessment Survey to identify non-native and cryptogenic species (species with as yet unresolved origins) at 18 sites from Rhode Island to Maine.
- Report on the 2010 Rapid Assessment Survey of Marine Species at New England Floating Docks and Rocky Shores (PDF, 10 MB) - This report published by CZM in 2013 summarizes the results of the 2010 Rapid Assessment Survey at 20 sites from Rhode Island to Maine.
- Marine Invaders of the Northeast (PDF, 2 MB) - This 2003 report published by the MIT Sea Grant College Program summarizes the results of the 2003 Rapid Assessment Survey at 20 sites from New York to Maine.
- There Goes the Neighborhood: The 2003 Northeast Invasive Species Survey - This article on page 56 of the Winter 2004/2005 Coastlines (PDF, 38 MB) discusses the August 2003 rapid assessment survey of invasive marine species conducted along the Massachusetts coastline.
- Flickr Photo Album for the 2018 Rapid Assessment Survey - Find photos of work conducted and specimens found at this survey of sites from Massachusetts to Maine.
- Codium Up, Eelgrass Down: Invasives Impact Buzzards Bay - This article on page 59 of the 2007 Coastlines (PDF, 39 MB) discusses the impact of the invasive Codium alga on eelgrass habitat.
- CZ-Tip - Learn to Spot, and Deal with, the Aliens in Our Midst - This web page discusses steps that citizens can take to reduce the spread of invasive species.