Killer algae: the true tale of a biological invasion.

Killer algae: the true tale of a biological invasion. Alexandre Meinesz.

Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1999. Octavo, paperback, illustrations.

Two decades ago, a Stuttgart zoo imported a lush, bright green seaweed for its aquarium. Caulerpa taxifolia was captively bred by the zoo and exposed, for years, to chemicals and ultraviolet light. Eventually a sample of it found its way to the Oceanographic Museum in Monaco, then headed by Jacques Cousteau. Fifteen years ago, while cleaning its tanks, that museum dumped the pretty green plant into the Mediterranean. This supposedly benign little plant has now become a pernicious force. Caulerpa taxifolia now covers 10,000 acres of the coasts of France, Spain, Italy, and Croatia, and has devastated the Mediterranean ecosystem. And it continues to grow, unstoppable and toxic.

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