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An overview of thirty years of research on ballast water as a vector for aquatic invasive species to freshwater and marine environments

Author(s): Bailey SA

Abstract

Ballast water has been widely used by commercial vessels to control trim, draft and stability since the late 1870s. While the global transport of ballast water (and associated sediments) was first recognized as a potential dispersal mechanism for plankton in the late 1890s, quantitative research on the issue does not appear in the primary scientific literature until the mid-1980s. Following James T. Carlton's comprehensive review of the biology of ballast water in 1985, there was an explosion in research effort, with nearly 400 papers published in the last thirty years. This article provides a brief overview of the role that ballast water has played as a global vector for aquatic invasive species, summarizing the current state of ballast water research and emerging topics for future study, based on a review of articles in the primary scientific literature.

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