Seattle Waterfront Falling to Gribble Invasion

Publication: National Geographic News   Date: April 23, 2004   View Article

Flea-sized crustaceans with seven sets of legs, four moving mouth parts, and a voracious appetite for wood-borne bacteria could cause the edge of downtown Seattle, Washington, to slip into the Puget Sound.

Known as gribbles, the crustaceans have devoured portions of a wooden platform and supporting timbers designed to stabilize a steel-and-concrete seawall built along the Seattle waterfront in 1934. The wall allows deep-hulled ships to dock at the city’s edge.

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