Aquarium and ornamental fish trade is one of the most dangerous and rapidly growing vectors for invasive species. Andrew Chang and his team from the Department of Environmental Science and Policy at the University of California examined the invasion risk posed by aquarium fish in the San Francisco Bay-Delta region by identifying potentially invasive species sold in local stores.
Chang’s team identified freshwater and saltwater fish species in pet stores around the Bay-Delta area and compared their temperature and salinity requirements to local environmental data. Under conservative estimates, the pet stores sold three potentially invasive freshwater species and two saltwater species. However, under less conservative estimates, which allowed more realistic temperature variations, they found nine freshwater and eighteen saltwater invaders. Additionally, in the researcher’s survey, most pet store employees agreed the potential invaders represent a serious threat to the Bay-Delta ecosystem. This study represents a step towards identifying species with high invasion risk and taking action against their introduction.
Biological Invasions. doi: 10.1007/s10530-008-9292-4 (2009).