[Coral-List] new paper: native predators do not control lionfish

John Bruno jbruno at unc.edu
Thu Jul 11 20:51:14 EDT 2013

Get it here at PLOS: goo.gl/rYfzx  (http://t.co/GNmzGcCpNS)

We surveyed the abundance (density and biomass) of lionfish and native predatory fishes that could interact with lionfish (either through predation or competition) on 71 reefs in three biogeographic regions of the Caribbean. We found no relationship between the density or biomass of lionfish and that of native predators. Our results suggest that interactions with native predators do not influence the colonization or post-establishment population density of invasive lionfish on Caribbean reefs.

That does not mean native predators never eat lionfish.  They probably do.  But they don't appear to measurably control lionfish populations.  Furthermore, overfishing was not the cause (or a contributing factor) of the invasion.  The "cause" was the introduction itself.  Previous observations of reduced lionfish density within MPAs (e.g., Mumby et al 2011), which our results confirm, appear to be due to targeted culling by park managers rather than higher predator biomass.  

John F Bruno, PhD
Department of Biology
UNC Chapel Hill
www.johnfbruno.com (http://www.johnfbruno.com)

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