Skip to main content
U.S. flag

An official website of the United States government

Biological control of marine pests

October 1, 1996

Biological control, as used in terrestrial systems, may hold promise for use against exotic marine species. We first review some marine pests, displaying their diversity, the damage they cause, and possible controls. We then contrast approaches for marine and terrestrial pest control, providing guidelines for adapting terrestrial controls to the marine environment. Although several of the same principles apply in terrestrial and marine environments, marine systems differ with respect to the types of control agents available, the degree of pest—population reduction needed for effective control, the spatial scale over which biological control must operate effectively, the practicality of implementation, and the nature and degree of concern over safety. As an example, we propose a strategy for developing a biological control program against the European green crab, Carcinus maenas, which has had substantial negative impacts where previously introduced (New England, Atlantic Canada, South Africa, south Australia) and which has recently been introduced to central California, and to Tasmania. We conclude that biological control may be possible for some marine pests, but that existing strategies and expectations will require modification.

Publication Year 1996
Title Biological control of marine pests
DOI 10.2307/2265695
Authors Kevin D. Lafferty, Armand M. Kuris
Publication Type Article
Publication Subtype Journal Article
Series Title Ecology
Index ID 1007993
Record Source USGS Publications Warehouse
USGS Organization Western Ecological Research Center