By running the numbers, the researchers say they can now identify hotspots most at risk for a bioinvasion. Those areas include Singapore, Hong Kong, as well as the Panama and Suez canals, the BBC reported. Factors such as warmer water temperatures and port traffic increased the likelihood. Their research was recently published in the journal Ecology Letters.
The team also found that long trips across thousands of miles aren't as much of a concern as previously thought because organisms don't tend to survive the conditions in the ballast water - part of a tank system that provides stability. Since so many survive short distances in the ballast, ports and ship engineers are experimenting with ways to clean them by using filters, chemicals or radiation.
Time to Eat, Zap, or Neuter Invasive Species
Even with a new powerful forecasting model, I'm not sure the global shipping industry will ever take all the necessary steps to prevent invaders from hitching a ride. For one, the shipping industry is under economic pressure to avoid investing money and extra time at port.