Researchers Document Hitchhikers on 2011 Tsunami's Debris

Researchers studied more than 600 pieces of debris that washed up on Hawaiian, U.S., and Canadian coasts, and they counted nearly 300 Japanese species on them.

A paper published in the journal Science concludes that the 2011 tsunami waves in Japan carried "hitchhikers" out to sea as they receded -- crustaceans, fish, and mollusks that traveled all the way to Hawaii and North America's western coastline, with some arriving years later.

Researchers from Williams College, Oregon State University's Department of Fisheries and Wildlife, and other institutions studied more than 600 pieces of debris that washed up on these coasts, and they counted nearly 300 Japanese species on them.

Katherine Kornei noted in an account on the journal's website that they found "roughly 80 different species on the largest piece, a 170-ton section of dock. In many cases, the scientists found that the animals had successfully reproduced along their journey. That’s evidence that the relatively slow movement of the debris (2-4 kilometers per hour) helped species adapt to changing conditions across the Pacific Ocean, the team wrote. But life hitching a ride between continents might have a dark side, the researchers noted: Debris could transport invasive species, forever changing ecosystems."

Download Center

  • Your Guide to Environmental Metrics that Drive Performance

    Translating sustainability into action starts with implementing the right metrics to assess your environmental risk and performance. Learn how to design metrics that improve your decision-making process and drive enterprise performance.

  • Unpacking ESG: 6 Questions You Were Too Afraid to Ask

    Environmental and Sustainability experts from Arcadis and Cority answer 6 of the most pressing questions EHS professionals have about getting started with Environmental, Social, and Governance (ESG) reporting.

  • 5 Keys to Best-in-Class Chemical Management

    Running a safe chemical program is challenging and complex: from knowing what's on-site to proper handling and disposal - all while navigating regulatory changes. Learn the best ways to mitigate chemical risk, get the most value out of your data, and gain buy-in for a chemical management solution.

  • Streamline Your Air Emissions Management

    See how consolidating all your emissions management functions into one centralized system can help you streamline your operations, more easily maintain compliance, and achieve greater time and cost savings.

  • A Crash Course in Creating the Right Environmental Scoring System

    Learn how to develop the right environmental scoring system so you can easily benchmark performance across all your facilities and gain a holistic view of your environmental programs.

  • Industry Safe