Exotic fish & plants threaten natural ecosystems
6:44 am
Sun February 17, 2013

Aquarium Escapees

Photo provided by Susan Willaims
Susan Williams examines marine life on Pacific coastal rocks.
Credit Bruce Nyden

Exotic aquarium fish and plants are beautiful and soothing in their containers. But if they get out into our natural waters, they can cause enormous problems. Bruce Robinson talks with a researcher who has been studying this issue.

A diver captures a lionfish for the aquarium trade
A diver captures a lionfish for the aquarium trade

 Importing exotic tropical fish to meet the demand from aquarium owners does inevitably increase the risk that some of those species may get out into the wild. But Susan Williams, Professor of Evolution and Ecology at the Bodega Bay Marine Lab points out that this trade also helps preserve other threatened ecosystems.