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      Prevention of microbial species introductions to the Arctic: The efficacy of footwear disinfection measures on cruise ships

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      NeoBiota

      Pensoft Publishers

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          Abstract

          Biosecurity measures are commonly used to prevent the introduction of non-native species to natural environments globally, yet the efficacy of practices is rarely tested under operational conditions. A voluntary biosecurity measure was trialled in the Norwegian high Arctic following concern that non-native species might be transferred to the region on the footwear of travellers. Passengers aboard an expedition cruise ship disinfected their footwear with the broad spectrum disinfectant Virkon S prior to and in-between landing at sites around the remote Svalbard archipelago. The authors evaluated the efficacy of simply stepping through a disinfectant foot bath, which is the most common practice of footwear disinfection aboard expedition cruise ships in the Arctic. This was compared to a more time consuming and little-used method involving drying disinfected footwear, as proposed by other studies. The two practices were evaluated by measuring microbial growth on paired footwear samples before and after disinfection under both conditions. Step-through disinfection did not substantially reduce microbial growth on the footwear. Allowing disinfected footwear to dry, however, reduced the microbial burden significantly to lower levels. Thus, the currently adopted procedures used aboard ships are ineffective at removing microbial burden and are only effective when footwear is given more time to dry than currently granted under operational conditions. These findings underscore results from empirical research performed elsewhere and suggest the need to better relay this information to practitioners. It is suggested that footwear should minimally be wiped dry after step-through disinfection as a reasonable compromise between biosecurity and practicability.

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          Most cited references 22

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          Continent-wide risk assessment for the establishment of nonindigenous species in Antarctica.

          Invasive alien species are among the primary causes of biodiversity change globally, with the risks thereof broadly understood for most regions of the world. They are similarly thought to be among the most significant conservation threats to Antarctica, especially as climate change proceeds in the region. However, no comprehensive, continent-wide evaluation of the risks to Antarctica posed by such species has been undertaken. Here we do so by sampling, identifying, and mapping the vascular plant propagules carried by all categories of visitors to Antarctica during the International Polar Year's first season (2007-2008) and assessing propagule establishment likelihood based on their identity and origins and on spatial variation in Antarctica's climate. For an evaluation of the situation in 2100, we use modeled climates based on the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change's Special Report on Emissions Scenarios Scenario A1B [Nakićenović N, Swart R, eds (2000) Special Report on Emissions Scenarios: A Special Report of Working Group III of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (Cambridge University Press, Cambridge, UK)]. Visitors carrying seeds average 9.5 seeds per person, although as vectors, scientists carry greater propagule loads than tourists. Annual tourist numbers (∼33,054) are higher than those of scientists (∼7,085), thus tempering these differences in propagule load. Alien species establishment is currently most likely for the Western Antarctic Peninsula. Recent founder populations of several alien species in this area corroborate these findings. With climate change, risks will grow in the Antarctic Peninsula, Ross Sea, and East Antarctic coastal regions. Our evidence-based assessment demonstrates which parts of Antarctica are at growing risk from alien species that may become invasive and provides the means to mitigate this threat now and into the future as the continent's climate changes.
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            Frequent long-distance plant colonization in the changing Arctic.

            The ability of species to track their ecological niche after climate change is a major source of uncertainty in predicting their future distribution. By analyzing DNA fingerprinting (amplified fragment-length polymorphism) of nine plant species, we show that long-distance colonization of a remote arctic archipelago, Svalbard, has occurred repeatedly and from several source regions. Propagules are likely carried by wind and drifting sea ice. The genetic effect of restricted colonization was strongly correlated with the temperature requirements of the species, indicating that establishment limits distribution more than dispersal. Thus, it may be appropriate to assume unlimited dispersal when predicting long-term range shifts in the Arctic.
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              Invisible invaders: non-pathogenic invasive microbes in aquatic and terrestrial ecosystems.

              Although the number of studies on invasive plants and animals has risen exponentially, little is known about invasive microbes, especially non-pathogenic ones. Microbial invasions by viruses, bacteria, fungi and protists occur worldwide but are much harder to detect than invasions by macroorganisms. Invasive microbes have the potential to significantly alter community structure and ecosystem functioning in diverse terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. Consequently, increased attention is needed on non-pathogenic invasive microbes, both free-living and symbiotic, and their impacts on communities and ecosystems. Major unknowns include the characteristics that make microbes invasive and properties of the resident communities and the environment that facilitate invasions. A comparison of microbial invasions with invasions of macroorganisms should provide valuable insights into general principles that apply to invasions across all domains of life and to taxon-specific invasion patterns. Invasive microbes appear to possess traits thought to be common in many invasive macroorganisms: high growth rate and resource utilization efficiency, and superior competitive abilities. Invading microorganisms are often similar to native species, but with enhanced performance traits, and tend to spread in lower diversity communities. Global change can exacerbate microbial invasions; therefore, they will likely increase in the future. © 2010 Blackwell Publishing Ltd/CNRS.
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                Author and article information

                Journal
                NeoBiota
                NB
                Pensoft Publishers
                1314-2488
                1619-0033
                March 06 2018
                March 06 2018
                : 37
                : 37-49
                Article
                10.3897/neobiota.37.22088
                © 2018

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