Danielle Verna was a Pre-Doctoral Fellow with the Smithsonian Environmental Research Center’s Marine Invasions Laboratory where she carried out a research project titled “US energy exports drive shipping behavior and biological invasion dynamics.” She is currently a PhD Candidate at Portland State University and a Research Associate at Alaska Pacific University.
Imagine this: you drive home from work, flip on the light switch, check your phone, and consider what to make for dinner. In the course of your routine, chances are you aren’t thinking about where your vehicle, light bulbs, electronics, appliances, or side of rice came from. In today’s world many raw commodities and finished goods are produced and traded globally. The items we depend on in our everyday lives, the materials we use to build our homes and roads, and the energy we consume to produce and operate them may originate from distant shores. Exports are often shipped, quite literally, on ships, creating a maritime network that reaches coastal ports around the world and supports our daily activities.