"The only sea snake that would be likely to colonize the lake is Pelamis platura," the yellow-bellied sea snake, said Murphy.
The yellow-bellied sea snake is the only species that rides the surf of the open Pacific ocean while it waits to ambush prey, which puts the snake in a good position to enter the western side of the canal. Luckily for the fish and fishermen of Lake Nicaragua, this seagoing lifestyle also makes the yellow-bellied sea snake a poor candidate for lake colonization, according to Murphy.
Even if yellow-bellied sea snakes did manage to survive in the lake, their slow reproduction rate of only one to three offspring at a time would limit their ability to take over the lake, noted Murphy.
Ultimately, the threat of invasive species, salinity and temperature changes, along with other ecosystem disruptions depends on the way the canal is engineered.
"Lakes are sensitive systems," William Lewis, director of the Center for Limnology, or the study of lakes, at the University of Colorado, told Discovery News. "A change in one aspect of the lake system affects other parts... and those changes are often perceived as negative by people who depend on the lakes."