James T. Carlton, Ph.D.

75 Greenmanville Ave.
P.O.Box 6000
City, State, Zip
Mystic, Connecticut 06355-0990
Award Year


Project Details

Marine Biological Invasions and Their Past, Present and Potential Future Impacts on Altering Marine Ecosystems

Carlton used his Pew Fellowship to research and write a book on marine biological invasions and their past, present and potential future impacts on altering marine ecosystems. He also pursued international multilateral agreements to better manage ballast water, a principal means of transporting these organisms. This two-fold approach promoted increased concern for the impacts of exotic species invasions which provided support and impetus for governments to focus attention on biological invasions.

Carlton also worked on the design and passage of the National Invasive Species Act of 1996 and continues to actively track and assist its implementation. He is also the senior author of the first monograph on marine and estuarine invasions of the Northwest Atlantic Ocean and he founded and serves as editor-in-chief of the journal Biological Invasions. In addition, Carlton was an organizer and keynote speaker of the First National Conference on Marine Bioinvasions, held in January 1999, which resulted in the creation of a U.S. National Invasive Species Council to coordinate federal interagency efforts to control terrestrial and aquatic invasive species.


James Carlton is a marine ecologist and evolutionary biogeographer. His interests since the early 1960s have focused on biological invasions, that is, the introduction of non-native species through human activities. In the 1980s he added marine extinctions to his research endeavors, with a particular focus on non-vertebrate extinctions in the sea. Carlton is interested in both the historical additions (invasions) and historical deletions (neoextinctions) in marine communities.

His research interests in marine invasions cover a broad geographic range, including problems in Pacific North America, Atlantic North America, Hawaii, the Laurentian Great Lakes and Europe. For many years Carlton has been involved in the question of transporting marine life by ballast, rather than bilge water, of ocean-going ships and much of his time since 1990 has been spent focusing on means to reduce ballast-mediated invasions.

Carlton has been on the faculty of Williams College since 1989 when he took on leadership of the 20-college Maritime Studies Program consortium. From 1993 to 1995, he was co-chair of the U.S. National Research Council's Committee on Marine Biodiversity which produced a book on the issues facing marine life at the close of the 20th century and proposed a research agenda to address many of these challenges.


James Carlton's faculty website



Ph.D., University of California
1979: Ecology, Davis, California, USA

Bachelor of Arts, University of California
1971: Paleontology, Berkeley, California, USA


Marine Biotechnology Briefs
2003-Present: Editorial Review Board Member

United Nations Global Invasive Species Program (GISP)
1997-Present: International Steering Committee

U.N. International Maritime Organization
1996-Present: U.S. Science Delegate

International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)
1995-Present: Working Group on Introductions of Marine Organisms

Smithsonian Institution, Washington
1993-Present: Scientific Collaborator

U.S. National Research Council's Committee on Marine Biodiversity
1993-1995: Co-chair

United States Congress
1991-1993: Advisory Panel


U.S. Senator John Glenn Award

Marine Fellow
1996: Pew Fellows Program in Marine Conservation

1994: American Association for the Advancement of Science


  • Norse, E.A. & J.T. Carlton. 2003. World Wide Web buzz about biodiversity. Conservation Biology 17(6): 1475-1476
  • Carlton, J.T. 1999. Imperilied aquatic fauna a review of "aquatic fauna in peril: the southeastern perspective". Conservation Biology 13:458.
  • Carlton, J.T. 1999. Molluscan invasions in marine and estuarine communities. Malacologia 41:439-454
  • Carlton, J.T. 1999. The scale and ecological consequences of biological invastions in the world's oceans. In: Invasive Species and Biodiversity Management (O.T. Sandlunch, P.J. Schei and Auslaug Viken eds.). Kluwer Academic Publishers, Dordrecht, p. 431
  • Carlton, J.T. and C.E. Mills. 1999. Preserving living marine resources: havens on the high seas. In: Proceedings of the Public Program (W.S. Wooster and W.T. Burke eds.). University of Washington School of Marine Affairs, Seattle, p. 106
  • Carlton, J.T., J.B. Geller, M.L. Reaka-Kudla and E.A. Norse. 1999. Historical extinction in the sea. Annual Review of Ecology and Systematics 30:515-538
  • Coles, S.L., R.C. DeFelice, L.G. Eldredge and J.T. Carlton. 1999. Historical and recent introductions of nonindigenous marine species into Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaiian Islands. Marine Biology 135:147-158
  • Carlton, J.T. 1998. Apostrophe to the ocean. Conservation Biology 12(6): 1165
  • Carlton, J.T. 1998. Ballast Water: Ecological and Fisheries Implications. International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (146 pp). ICES Cooperative Research Report No. 224
  • Carlton, J.T. 1998. Bioinvaders in the sea: reducing the flow of ballast water. World Conservation 28(4): 37509. IUCN
  • Carlton, J.T. and A.N. Cohen. 1998. Periwinkle's progress: The Atlantic snail Littorina saxatilis (Mollusca: Gastropoda) establishes a colony on a Pacific shore. The Veliger 41:333-338
  • Carlton, J.T. and B.A. Holohan (eds.). 1998. USA Ballast Book 1998-1999. Ballast Research in the United States of America. (204 pp). Prepared for the International Council for the Exploration of the Sea (ICES)/United Nations International Maritime Organization (IMO)/Intergovernmental Oceanographic commission (IOC) Study Group on Ballast Water and Sediments and the United National International Maritime Organization Working Group on Ballast Water
  • Cohen A.N. and J. T. Carlton. 1998. Accelerating invasion rate in a highly invaded estuary. Science 279(5350): 555-558
  • Mills C.E. and J. T. Carlton. 1998. Rationale for a system of international reserves for the open ocean. Conservation Biology 12:244-247
  • Butman, C.A., J.T. Carlton and S.R. Palumbi. 1996. Whales don't fall like snow: Reply to Jelmert. Conservation Biology 10(2): 655
  • Carlton, J.T. 1996. Biological invasions and cryptogenic species. Ecology 77(6): 1653
  • Carlton, J.T. and M.H. Ruckelshaus. 1997. Nonindigenous marine invertebrates and algae. In: Strangers in Paradise. Impact and Management of Non-Indigenous Species in Florida (D. Simberloff, D.C. Schmitz and T.C. Brown eds.). Island Press, Washington, p. 187-201
  • Cohen, A.N. and J.T. Carlton. 1997. Transoceanic transport mechanisms: The introduction of the Chinese mitten crab, Eriocheir sinensis, to California. Pacific Science 51(1): 1-11
  • Coles, S.L., R.C. DeFelice, L.G. Eldredge, J.T. Carlton, R.L. Pyle and A. Suzumoto. 1997. Biodiversity of Marine Communities in Pearl Harbor, Oahu, Hawaii with Observations on Introduced Exotic Species. Department of Natural Sciences, Invertebrate Zoology, Bernice Pauahi Bishop Museum. Department of Defense Legacy Project No. 106. (66 pp)
  • Pierce, R.W., J.T. Carlton, D.A. Carlton and J.B. Geller. 1997. Ballast water as a vector for tintinnid transport. Marine Ecology Progress Series 149:295-297
  • Ruiz, G.M., J.T. Carlton, E.D. Grosholz and A.H. Hines. 1997. Global invasions of marine and estuarine habitats by non-indigenous species: Mechanisms, extent, and consequences. American Zoologist 37(6): 621-632
  • Carlton, J.T. and C.A. Butman. 1995. Understanding marine biodiversity. Oceanus 38(2): 4
  • Johnson, L.E. and J.T. Carlton. 1996. Post-establishment spread in large-scale invasions: Dispersal mechanisms of the zebra mussel Dreissena polymorpha. Ecology 77(6): 1686
  • Carlton, J.T., L.D. Smith, D. Reid, M. Wonham, L. McCann, G. Ruiz and A. Hines.An Outline Manual of Sampling Procedures and Protocols for Fresh, Brackish, and Salt Water Ballast. The National Sea Grant College Program/Connecticut Sea Grant Project R/ES-6
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