Aquatic invasive species (AIS) can be introduced into new water bodies through a pathway that is known as organisms in trade (OIT). This pathway includes aquarium release, water garden escape, study organism release, live food and aquaculture release, and live bait. The OIT pathway is a well-documented route that has introduced AIS  into the Great Lakes.

Pennsylvania Sea Grant has partnered with other Great Lakes Sea Grant programs to prevent the future invasions of AIS through the OIT pathway. Using national campaigns like HABITATTITUDE, Sea Grant provides outreach and education to aquarium clubs, garden societies, nurseries, landscape associations, hobbyists, teachers, retailers and consumers to provide them with alternatives to releasing unwanted aquarium pets and plants into ecosystems and giving native alternatives to use in aquariums and water gardens. Visit Illinois/Indiana Sea Grants OIT page for videos, webinars, and information for building water gardens responsibly. 


Do Not Allow Escape of Plants or Release of Unwanted Fish:


Pocket Guide to Water Garden Species

The explosion in popularity of water gardening has contributed to the proliferation of aquatic invasive species.

Diane Oleson, a Penn State Extension educator based in York County, created an educational program that shows water gardeners how to avoid giving aquatic invaders a free ride! The  Mid-Atlantic Pocket Guide to Water Garden Species highlights native plants in  the Mid-Atlantic region that are good alternatives to plants that are likely to escape and cause problems.

For presentations, companion materials and additional videos, visit the Penn State Extension’s Water Resources website under Pond Management.

Great Lakes BIOTIC Symposium 

The Great Lakes Sea Grant Network hosted the Great Lakes Briefs on Invasive Organisms Traded in Commerce (BIOTIC) Symposium in Milwaukee, Wis.,  June 3 and 4, 2014.  The symposium was supported by the Wisconsin and Minnesota Sea Grant Programs and aimed to advance knowledge and understanding of the OIT invasion pathway. The symposium identified research gaps to improve management of OIT and facilitated the  transfer of information between researchers, managers, educators, OIT industries/associations and the public.

For abstracts, presentations, and summaries, visit Wisconsin Sea Grant's BIOTIC Symposium website

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Main Office: Tom Ridge Environmental Center 301 Peninsula Dr., Suite 3 Erie, PA 16505 814-217-9011