Invasive species represent the second most significant cause of species extinction worldwide after habitat destruction, and in islands, they are undisputedly first. The impacts of alien invasive species are immense, insidious, and usually irreversible - IUCN

A Call to Action Against a Predator Fish With an Import Ban, App and Even Rodeos

 

A lionfish caught near Homestead, Fla., by researchers for the Reef Environmental Education Foundation, which is trying to curb the species’ proliferation. Credit Angel Valentin for The New York Times

MIAMI — They eat anything that fits in their mouths. They reproduce copiously and adapt effortlessly. And they have become as ubiquitous and pesky as rats — only prettier and more conniving.

Nearly three decades after a lone venomous lionfish was spotted in the ocean off Broward County — posing as a bit of eye candy back then and nothing more — the species has invaded the Southern seaboard, staking a particular claim on Florida, as well as the Gulf Coast, the Caribbean, and even parts of South America. Spreading gradually at first, and then frenetically from 2005 onward, lionfish have become the most numerous marine nonnative invasive species in the world, scientists said. Along the way, the predators, which hail from the other side of the world and can grow here to 20 inches long, are wreaking havoc on delicate reefs and probably further depleting precious snapper and grouper stocks.

“Our native species don’t know who they are,” said Matthew Johnston, a research scientist at Nova Southeastern University in Florida. “I’ve seen pictures of juvenile fish trying to hide within their tentacles. They think they are shelters — and then they just eat them. It’s a pretty bad deal.”

And eat they do. Mr. Johnston described lionfish as gluttonous, because studies have shown that they can stuff 50 or 60 baby fish into their stomachs. They even have big layers of stomach fat, the result of so much overindulgence, he added. But, as committed survivalists, they also can make do without food for long spells.

Read the entire article here

 

 

Hot News

GHRI Sharks

Established in 1999, the Guy Harvey Research Institute (GHRI) is a collaboration between the renowned marine artist, scientist and explorer, Dr. Guy Harvey, and Nova Southeastern University's Oceanographic Center. The mission of the GHRI is to provide the scientific information necessary to understand, conserve, and effectively manage the world's marine fishes and their ecosystems. The GHRI is one of only a handful of private organizations dedicated exclusively to the science-based conservation of marine fish populations and biodiversity. The research, education and outreach activities of the GHRI are supported by the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation, AFTCO Inc., extramural research grants, philanthropic donations by private businesses and individuals, and NSU. Track the sharks tagged by the GHRI with our web app.

 

 

Expedition Lionfish

Lionfish populations have expanded throughout the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico and threaten native reef ecosystems. The introduction of an exotic species with no natural predators threatens to destabilize the delicate natural balance of our local waters. OceanGate's professional crew, supplemented by leading researchers and select expedition participants, will execute at least four dives over two days utilizing a high power fish collection system to capture lionfish.

 

 

GIGA

Global Invertebrate Genomics Alliance - Describing the wide functional and structural diversity of invertebrates requires an integrated approach that includes not only traditional biological sciences (e.g., anatomy, ecology, behavior, physiology, paleontology), but the burgeoning interdisciplinary efforts of genomics. Following on the success of the human genome project and the current progress of the vertebrate Genome 10K project (Genome 10K Community of Scientists, 2009), GIGA proposes to assemble or assist in the coordination and collection of samples spanning the broad spectrum of (non-insect/ non-nematode) invertebrate phylogenetic diversity suitable for whole-genome sequencing.

 

 

Top