Aquatic Invasive Species
Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) are aquatic and terrestrial organisms and plants that have been introduced into new ecosystems throughout the world and cause harm to the natural resources in these ecosystems. Invasive aquatic plants are introduced plants that have adapted to living in, on, or next to water, and that can grow either submerged or partially submerged in water. Invasive aquatic animals require a watery habitat, but do not necessarily have to live entirely in water. AIS are also considered to be "nuisance" species or "exotic" species and the terms are often used interchangeably.
Many of the AIS species that occupy the United Stated today arrived via human means (i.e. from ballast water of oceangoing ships; released aquaculture species, aquarium specimens, and bait, and other means. The introduction of these foreign invaders results in displaced native species, and diminished biodiversity, resulting in huge economic impacts and fundamental disruptions of wetland, riparian, river, lake, and coastal ecosystems.