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The human-mediated introduction of species to regions of the world they could never reach by natural means has had great impacts on the environment, the economy, and society. In the ocean, these invasions have long been mediated by the uptake and subsequent release of ballast water in ocean-going vessels. Increasing world trade and a concomitantly growing global shipping fleet composed of larger and faster vessels, combined with a series of prominent ballast-mediated invasions over the past two decades, have prompted active national and international interest in ballast water management.

Assessing the Relationship Between Propagule Pressure and Invasion Risk in Ballast Water informs the regulation of ballast water by helping the Environnmental Protection Agency (EPA) and the U.S. Coast Guard (USCG) better understand the relationship between the concentration of living organisms in ballast water discharges and the probability of nonindigenous organisms successfully establishing populations in U.S. waters. The report evaluates the risk-release relationship in the context of differing environmental and ecological conditions,including estuarine and freshwater systems as well as the waters of the three-mile territorial sea. It recommends how various approaches can be used by regulatory agencies to best inform risk management decisions on the allowable concentrations of living organisms in discharged ballast water in order to safeguard against the establishment of new aquatic nonindigenous species, and to protect and preserve existing indigenous populations of fish, shellfish, and wildlife and other beneficial uses of the nation's waters.

Assessing the Relationship Between Propagule Pressure and Invasion Risk in Ballast Water provides valuable information that can be used by federal agencies, such as the EPA, policy makers, environmental scientists, and researchers.


Suggested Citation

National Research Council. 2011. Assessing the Relationship Between Propagule Pressure and Invasion Risk in Ballast Water. Washington, DC: The National Academies Press.

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Publication Info

156 pages |  6 x 9 | 

  • Paperback:  978-0-309-21562-6
  • Ebook:  978-0-309-21565-7

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