Invasions at the Lake

Photograph of Jim CarletonLake Merritt was the birthplace of an increasingly important field of science--the study of marine invasions. It started in the early 1960s when the staff of the Rotary Nature Center guided Oakland teenager Jim Carlton into doing a science project on the animals in Lake Merritt. The Lake, which is really a brackish-water lagoon and not a freshwater lake, is home to an exotic stew of organisms from around the world. Carleton found Korean shrimp, Japanese gobies, Australian tube-worms, Atlantic Ocean sea squirts, and Mediterranean mussels. While still in high school, he discovered a Chilean beach-hopper--a small shrimp-like organism that does not occur anywhere else in North America. Carlton's discoveries led to a career studying marine invasions. Today, he is the world's leading expert in the field.

Andrew Cohen
University of California, Berkeley

Oakland Museum of California Logo  "Walk Along the Water"
  Oakland Museum of California, used with permission.

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Jim Carlton's work on aquatic invaders in San Francisco Bay - PBS

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