Linking trade, biology and pet owner decisions to the risk of vertebrate invasions in the U.S.
Hundreds of millions of exotic pets are sold legally in markets worldwide. As this market grows, so too does the risk that it results in vertebrate invasions, often from species originally imported as household and aquarium pets. Invasive vertebrates are known to cause substantial economic and ecological harm, yet the links between pet trade volume and the introduction of invasive vertebrates are not well known. This Pursuit will explore the risk of vertebrate invasions from the exotic pet trade in the US by synthesizing existing data on vertebrate species import volume with data on the US pet trade. As a tool to aid in policy formulation, participants will also synthesize existing quantitative models that link exotic pet trade volume to invasion risk so that these models better capture the role of human behavior, economics, and population biology.