What to Look For

Aquatic Invasive Species (AIS) are species that enter into new ecosystems and spread, causing damage to native species and their habitants. These species are spread beyond their normal distribution, often as a result of human activities, and can threaten valuable environmental, agricultural or personal resources by the damage they cause.
Coffin Box or Lacy Crust Bryozoan (Membranipora membranacea)
Origin:
This European invertebrate, which is a bryozoan, was first found in eastern Canada, Nova-Scotia, in the early 1990’s and in the Gulf of St. Lawrence,
Quebec, in 2003
Characteristics:
  • Tiny filter feeders (zooids);
  • Forms white-colored encrusting colonies;
  • The colony has a rough texture;
  • Colonies are round and made up of many small rectangular “cells”.
Impacts:
  • Forms a crust on algae blocking light needed for photosynthesis and making the algal body stiff and brittle, causing it to break when exposed to waves;
  • Disturbs kelp ecosystems, and promotes establishment of invasive plants, such as Codium;
  • Proliferation in the Gulf of Maine has already destroyed entire kelp forests.