Ecosystem under pressure: ballast water discharge into Galveston Bay, Texas (USA) from 2005 to 2010. Academic Article uri icon


  • Ballast water exchange processes facilitate the dispersal and unnatural geographic expansion of phytoplankton, including harmful algal bloom species. From 2005 to 2010, over 45,000 vessels ( 8000 annually) travelled across Galveston Bay (Texas, USA) to the deep-water ports of Houston (10th largest in the world), Texas City and Galveston. These vessels (primarily tankers and bulkers) discharged 1.2 10(8) metrictons of ballast water; equivalent to 3.4% of the total volume of the Bay. Over half of the ballast water discharged had a coastwise origin, 96% being from US waters. Galveston Bay has fewer non-indigenous species but receives a higher volume of ballast water discharge, relative to the highly invaded Chesapeake and San Francisco Bays. Given the magnitude of shipping traffic, the role of Galveston Bay, both as a recipient and donor region of non-indigenous phytoplankton species is discussed here in terms of the invasibility risk to this system by way of ballast water.

published proceedings

  • Mar Pollut Bull

author list (cited authors)

  • Steichen, J. L., Windham, R., Brinkmeyer, R., & Quigg, A.

citation count

  • 21

complete list of authors

  • Steichen, Jamie L||Windham, Rachel||Brinkmeyer, Robin||Quigg, Antonietta

publication date

  • January 2012