Though ballast water is the most widely recognized pathway for invasive species in the Great Lakes, the sale of live organisms may contribute significantly to the number of introduced non-native species. To assess the dangers associated with the sale of live food and aquarium organisms in the Great Lakes, Rixon et al. (2005) from the Great Lakes Institute for Environmental Research surveyed the surrounding regions for potentially invasive species sold in markets and pet stores. They indentified potential invaders by investigating each non-native species’ invasion history, frequency of sale, and thermal requirements, which they compared to local environmental data. The results of their survey showed five fish species and five plant species that had the potential for invasion, including two fish and one plant species that had already become established. This study suggests aquarium trade poses a significant risk to the Great Lakes ecosystem, and thus steps should be taken to minimize the introduction of live food and aquarium organisms.
Biodiversity and Conservation. doi: 10.1007/s10531-004-9663-9 (2005).