Organization: The University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill
From: kg anderson
The July 2 issue of _Science_ had an interesting article about the
spread of marine organisms to other areas being facilitated by
ships. When ships are empty the take on ballast water, which they
dump when they reach their destination. The ballast contains lots and
lots of little beasties--a sample of Japanese ballast released in
Oregon contained 367 taxa, representing all marine trophic groups, and
represented a wide variety of ecological communities (infaunal,
epifaunal, epibiotic, and planktonic).
The reason I'm bringing all of this up on t.o. is because it
represents an excellent natural laboratory to test evolutionary
hypotheses. The introduction of exotic lifeforms into any
ecosystem poses the potential to upset a lot of ecological relation-
ships. This of course follows directly from the theory of evolution;
some of the new organisms will compete for resources better than those
already there, and will displace or even replace the native fauna.
On p. 80 of this issue there's a chart listing 45 species that have
been introduced into new marine or freshwater environments via
ballast water. Such examples are well known from terrestial
ecology (see Crosby's recent (1989?) book, _Ecological Imperialism:
The Biological Expansion of Europe 900-1900 AD_), but we're only
just beginning to realize how important--and potentially
threatening--this phenomenon is to marine ecosystems.
Now, here's my main question: what do creationists make of such
information? What would the Theory of Creationism (assuming one
is ever formulated) predict given the invasion of foreign species
into a marine habitat? Population genetics has all kinds of
theories regarding founder effect, drift, etc., which c'ists
seem to ignore or dismiss. But the fact that these phenomena are
occurring in nature all around us (and not just in some
geneticists computer) seems a stronger confirmation that ever
in the Fundamentals of Evolution (Mr. Tun's assertions to the
contrary notwithstanding). So how do c'ist get around this?
Carlton, J.T. and J.B. Geller. 1993. Ecological Roulette: the Global
Transport of Nonindiginous Marine Organisms. _Science_ 261: 78-82.
Hedgpeth, J.W. 1993. Foreign Invaders. _Science_ 261: 34-35.
kg anderson "Fine animal gorilla"