Alien invasion of Tjärnö Bay

Are aliens among us? 
This question emerged after a mysterious finding in Tjärnö Bay (western Sweden) made by ‘The leave no trace crew’, a team of litter scientists dedicated to identifying the impact of man-made litter on our oceans.

In order to shed light on the possibility of a marine alien presence, a team of specialists assembled, funded by the EMBC+ programme, to investigate the legitimacy of this finding, and if verified, assess the extent of the invasion. The team consists of six people from various scientific and cultural backgrounds, equipped with the necessary tools and knowledge to set out for a week-long alien hunt.

From left to right: Jan Verbeek, Mchael Kriegl, Annika Heimrich, Alba …, Duarte Frade, Shanice Piango, Belinda Burtonshaw.

But if you expect some little green men in a flying saucer we unfortunately have to disappoint you. Even though they very likely exist somewhere out there, the focus of this project is of another nature. The aliens in this story are marine organisms which originated from other locations of the world and have made their way to Tjärnö Bay and surrounding locations often hitch-hiking on ships but also many other means of transport.  Being an alien species does not necessarily entail a negative effects on the newly colonised environment. There are however many documented cases of where these organisms became invasive, meaning that they had negative effects on other marine animals and plants and even on human health and economies which rely on marine resources.

For the next nine days, our team will try to identify what alien species are present in Tjärnö Bay and assess the potential impacts these organisms might have on the Swedish marine coastal ecosystems.
We will continue to blog the progress of our investigation. So stay tuned and get the latest updates on how our team contributes to saving the world from an alien invasion.


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