Ok, let’s get the technical stuff out of the way so I can get to the real point of this post.
Quagga Mussels are bad news for water bodies in this country. They’ve only just started to turn up here in any significant numbers in the last few months. They’ve caused significant problems in the Great Lakes in the US and have the potential to be pretty destructive to native ecosystems. They originate from south-east Europe (the rather wonderfully named Ponto-Caspian region). No one knows precisely how they got here, perhaps in ships ballast, an inevitable and unavoidable consequence. I blame the EU*.
How can we get rid of them? (My god, I’ve turned into one of those people who ask then answer their own questions). The University of Cambridge have come up with a ‘BioBullet’ that may dissolve their shells. I await to see the progress of this. It’s better than introducing a predator at least (I’m always reminded of the old lady who swallowed a spider when I think of this approach. And I don’t like being reminded of it; that story always unnerved me when I was a child).
Anyway, what was I here for? It was when I was doing a bit of reading on the internet for a previous piece about invasive species that I blundered over a few examples of yet more confusion over just what we mean when we talk about invasives (I say blundered, I had set out to find examples of it, and they were there in abundance). It was when reading this piece that I got into one of my periodical fugs about the misapplication of social and political principles to ecological issues. Aliens (ecological ones, that is) usually get cast as either evil interlopers ‘coming over here, killing our native species’ (bad) or as poor, victimised travelers, just trying to carve out a life for themselves in the world (even worse). It’s not hard to spot the subtext in either opinion. This article fell into the latter (spot the authors revealing comment about himself towards the end) and I couldn’t really let its lake of scientific rigor and disregard of a real ecological problem stand. So I posted a response.
I think I was particularly narked about the use of quotations marks around the word conservationists, but also took the time to point out the error in confusing social issues with scientific ones and why his admiral defence of the Quagga Mussel was misguided.
There was a counter-post, of which I could not really get my head around the first sentence (feel free to explain this one to me if you understand it)
‘To say that a species is “out of place” is a value judgement and not a scientific (logical) conclusion. It could be a logical conclusion if you start with the assumption that a species may not out-compete another species to extinction even if it is the best suited to survive in the environment it finds itself.’
But which also went on to generalise that all ‘conservationists’ believed in survival of the fittest until it suited them, disregarding it when they wanted to get out and kill something.
Again, I couldn’t let such fresh nonsense stand and submitted a further counter-counter-post clearly analysing and dissembling each of his misplaced points. I talked with great flair, élan and cutting knowledge using big words such as ‘monoculture’ and mentioning that if any ‘conservationists’ they had met still held to survival of the fittest, then they probably deserved the quotation marks. But clearly my rebuttal was too thorough, too complete in its glorious refutation of the misplaced sentiment of their blog and my comment never appeared – deleted or not approved by the blogger or just vanished into the ether under the weight of its own awesomeness. And that vexes me. I am terribly vexed
So, in essence I suspect this page is more about my own feelings of rejection and fears of being ignored than it is the Quagga Mussel. Sorry for misleading you.
*I don’t blame the EU