For the past three years a highly invasive form of brown kelp, native to Japan, has spread throughout the San Francisco bay. Researchers worry that the alien seaweed could threaten native species and ecosystems in the Pacific Ocean.
The seaweed, more often referred to as Wakame, is a common ingredient in Miso soup and multiplies at an extremely quick rate. Since it was discovered at the San Francisco Yacht Harbor and the South Beach Harbor in 2009, it has already drastically altered the Bay’s ecosystem by driving out native kelp.
The discovery of the dangerously invasive species initially sparked widespread alarm among marina workers and biologists who have worked endlessly to get rid of the alien species. Wakame is also responsible for wreaking havoc on ecosystems in Argentina, New Zealand and parts of Europe.
Last year, the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center found the brown kelp clinging to several more places along the Bay including Fort Mason, Pier 39, Fisherman’s Wharf, and along the Hyde Street pier. The worst areas of infestation are around AT&T Park and Half-Moon Bay.
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