Plant and animal life on tsunami debris: a 'giant experiment'

Plant and animal life on tsunami debris: a 'giant experiment'
In this undated photo provided by the Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife, Justin Ainsworth, Oregon DFW biologist, inspects a boat that washed up on Gleneden Beach, Ore. Scientists say the 30-foot boat that washed ashore on the central Oregon coast appears to be debris from the March 2011 Japan tsunami. (AP Photo/Oregon Department of Fish and Wildlife)

NEWPORT, Ore. (AP) — Scientists at Oregon State University's Hatfield Marine Science Center in Newport are monitoring the possible spread of plant and animal life carried to the Northwest coast on debris from the 2011 Japanese tsunami.

Docks that washed ashore last summer at Newport's Agate Beach and in December on Washington's Olympic Peninsula carried non-native species. Most were scraped off and destroyed.

An invasive species specialist at the science center, John Chapman, told The Oregonian (http://is.gd/uAnukO ) many organisms from Japan survived more than a year floating across the Pacific and crashing on the Northwest coast. But whether they will spread and become a problem is hard to predict.

Chapman says it's important to record marine life on tsunami debris for what he calls a "giant experiment."

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Information from: The Oregonian, http://www.oregonlive.com