Evaluating Importation of Aquatic Ornamental Species for Biosecurity Purposes

Atalah, Javier, Davidson, Ian C., Thoene, Maike, Georgiades, Eugene, and Hutson, Kate S. (2022) Evaluating Importation of Aquatic Ornamental Species for Biosecurity Purposes. Frontiers in Ecology and Evolution, 9. 804160.

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The aquatic ornamental species (AOS) trade is a significant pathway for the introduction and establishment of non-indigenous species into aquatic environments. The likelihood of such occurrences is expected to increase worldwide as industry growth continues and warmer conditions emerge under future climate scenarios. This study used recent (2015 – 2019) New Zealand importation data to determine the composition, diversity, abundance, and arrival frequency of AOS. Our analysis revealed that ca. 300,000 aquatic ornamental individuals are imported annually to New Zealand, with freshwater fish comprising 98% of import quantities. Despite the relatively small market size, the estimated AOS diversity of 865 taxa (89 and 9.5% identified to species and genus level, respectively) is comparable to larger markets with ∼60% of taxa being of marine origin. Species (n = 20) for further investigation were prioritized based on quantity and frequency of import. These prioritized AOS were exclusively tropical and subtropical freshwater fish and align with the most frequently imported AOS globally, including the top three: neon tetra (Paracheirodon innesi), guppy (Poecilia reticulata), and tiger barb (Puntigrus tetrazona). Species distribution modeling of the 20 prioritized AOS predicted that 13 species are suitable for New Zealand’s current climate conditions, most notably sucker-belly loach (Pseudogastromyzon myersi), white cloud mountain minnow (Tanichthys albonubes), and golden otocinclus (Macrotocinclus affinis). Potential changes in habitat suitability were predicted under future climate scenarios, with largest increases (29%) for Po. reticulata. The described approach provides an adaptable framework to assess establishment likelihood of imported AOS to inform regulatory decision making.

Item ID: 74654
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 2296-701X
Keywords: aquarium trade, biosecurity, New Zealand, non-indigenous species (NIS), Poecilia reticulata (guppy), species distribution modeling (SDM)
Copyright Information: © 2022 Atalah, Davidson, Thoene, Georgiades and Hutson. This is an open-access article distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License (CC BY). The use, distribution or reproduction in other forums is permitted, provided the original author(s) and the copyright owner(s) are credited and that the original publication in this journal is cited, in accordance with accepted academic practice. No use, distribution or reproduction is permitted which does not comply with these terms.
Date Deposited: 01 Dec 2022 02:08
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4102 Ecological applications > 410202 Biosecurity science and invasive species ecology @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3199 Other biological sciences > 319999 Other biological sciences not elsewhere classified @ 50%
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