biologists looking for assistance
Wow! Thanks for the information GordMay.
There are a few reasons we are focusing on recreational hulls instead of commercial vessels. One of the main reasons is that studies have traditionally focused on commercial tankers, cruise ships, and cargo vessels. At this point, there is simply less information about hull fouling communities on recreational vessels. We''re hoping to expand the knowledge base (with a lot of help from individuals who cruise the eastern seaboard!), but slapping regulations on yachters is not one of our goals. If you''re interested in a funny, yet fairly honest, assessment of what is involved in being a research marine biologist, check out this link http://www.id.ucsb.edu/lovelab/biologist.html
Also, here''s a short, general background...
Transport of species on hulls has occurred since humans began using oceans for exploration and commerce. The change from wooden ships to steel or fiberglass stopped the transport of wood-boring species, but hull fouling species have remained an issue. On commercial vessels, fouling species in ballast water, anchor wells, dry dock strips on keels, and hulls have been studied. There''s some great information on invasive species and current work at the Smithsonian webpage http://invasions.si.edu/ and also CSIRO, an Australian site, http://crimp.marine.csiro.au/. Australia has been hit by some serious invasions that are devastating shipping and mariculture industries there. If you''re interested, it''s worthwhile to look into some of the work that is being done there. And if anyone wants more specific information about our project (or has other biology questions), feel free to email me directly at email@example.com.