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Newsletter - June 2014

May Meeting
Our guest speaker, Dr Richard Willan, drew such a large crowd that our meeting room was packed to capacity.
Richard is the Senior Curator of Molluscs at the Museum and Art Gallery of the Northern Territory in Darwin, Australia. In this role as well as earlier marine biology roles over the last 35 years he has gained extensive first-hand experience with introduced marine species. In his talk he shared with us the following wisdom ...

. "Non-native marine species will continue to arrive". The most recent example of this in New Zealand is the rapid spread of Nassarius burchardi in the Auckland (Waitemata) and Whangarei harbours.

. "Not all non-native marine species are pests". For example the Nudibranch Thecacera pennigera is a beautiful creature which does not have any adverse impact on the environment or to people.

. "A pest species is a non-native species that has a demonstrated deleterious effect on the biodiversity, economy, human health or public amenity in the area of its introduction and/or spread". This is a more sensible definition than simply labelling every introduced species a pest.

. "Every pest species is different and each requires a different approach for eradication/control". Eradication is very rarely successful, but in a Darwin Marina in 1999, an outbreak of the prolific Black Stripe mussel (Mytilopsis sallei) was eradicated through the application of 40 tonnes of Copper Sulphate. The Cullen Bay marina was closed for one week and all the fish in it died, but an environmental disaster was narrowly averted.

. "Australia and New Zealand clearly have different longitudinal and locational susceptibilities to marine pests". Both countries have the greatest biodiversity in the north, and this reduces the further south you go. However, in Australia, non-native pest species numbers are greatest in the south, with the numbers reducing to almost nothing in the north. In New Zealand however, marine pest numbers are concentrated around our major ports.

. "Blocks to the establishment of marine species (including pests) do operate at the ecosystem level". IE. often all ecological niches are already occupied and the new species is unable to establish itself.

. "Obtain a voucher specimen even if the suspect turns out to be a native species". This is important for the establishment of historical records. The voucher specimen should be preserved for formal identification, using absolute ethanol, absolute isopropyl alcohol, or 70% ethanol (Eg. gin), or a 5% formalin solution.

. "Have an up to date list of marine taxonomists on hand". In our case, Dr Bruce Haywood or Margaret Morley are keen to know about the appearance of any new non-native marine species.

. "Time is of the essence. Need to act immediately for invasions of marine pests". The larger their area of spread, the less likely it is that eradication can be achieved.

. "Public support through the media will garner political action". This was certainly the case in Australia when the Cullen Bay Marina was closed in 1999 to eradicate the Black Stripe mussel.

. "Only using in-water treatments for infested vessels can be unsuccessful". For example a diver would not be able to see the smallest juveniles or larvae.

. "Keep your nerve. Don't let 'stakeholder' pressure force you to declare the 'all clear' too soon". Authorities came under huge pressure when they closed the Cullen Bay Marina for one week because no vessels, not even the Police boat, were allowed to leave.

. "There are major gaps in surveillance for marine pests". Cruise liners, for example, have numerous cavities and spaces that could contain invasive marine organisms. There is simply no time to do a thorough inspection of all these "floating sponges".

. "Preventing non-native species from arriving in the first place is much more preferable (and significantly cheaper) than dealing with them after they have arrived". Prevention, however, is a nearly impossible task.

Richard often referred to his audience as "Marine Managers", implying that we should all be alert to the appearance of new non-native marine species.

Next Meeting Tuesday 10th June
Epsom Community Centre, 202 Gillies Avenue, Epsom at 7:30pm (doors open at 7pm). Supper provided.

Our roving President, Heather Smith, will tell us about her six week exploration of the South Island. She went to some remote places that people don't normally get to. This includes some fossil sites, the Stockton open cast coal mine, caving at Charleston, the new Tree Tops Walk, four wheel driving to Mace Town, The Catlins, Stewart Island, her favourite North Canterbury fossil location, Sawcut Gorge, and more. Interesting shells and some strange products of nature were found.

The focus family will be PECTINIDAE. Members are asked to bring in their Pectens.

Shell Auction Saturday 25th October (Labour Weekend)
Our annual Shell Auction will be held on Labour Weekend at the Albany Hall.
Sellers please get your lot lists to Peter before August 25th. Lot numbers are limited to 30 per person, but please advise if you would like to put in more than that because room for more may become available.
As usual the club will take a 10% commission on the sale price.
Contact Peter Poortman (petermwp@gmail.com or 09 817 1397) for more information.

New Zealand Shell Show 2015
This will be held on 16-18/January/2015 at the Petone Club in Udy Street, Petone, Lower Hutt.
A show schedule will be produced soon.
For more information contact Pat Lakeman (pat.lakeman@xtra.co.nz) on (04) 479 2919.

Poirieria Magazine
We welcome contributions to our club magazine "Poirieria".
Anything related to shells or collecting would be greatly appreciated - Eg. shelling trips/finds, personal observations/tips, scientific research, historic anecdotes, a notable washup, etc.
Please email articles to Peter Poortman at petermwp@gmail.com, or post to 26 Pendlebury Street, Green Bay, Auckland 0604.

Club Library
We have an extensive collection of books, magazines, and scientific publications available, as well as a biological microscope.

Other News
. Enclosed is the Members List for 2014.

. Items of interest for the monthly newsletter are always welcome - email to petermwp@gmail.com, or post to Peter Poortman, 26 Pendlebury Street, Green Bay, Auckland 0604.

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