[Coral-List] Lionfish in the news
szmanta at uncw.edu
Wed Jan 29 11:31:46 EST 2014
Has anyone counted lionfish densities in places such as Hol Chan (MPA with daily patrols to protect against poachers) that have fairly large numbers of groupers, snappers and other larger piscivores? I still wonder whether the lionfish would have been able to invade the Caribbean the way they have if Caribbean reefs had had natural abundances and size structures of these predators.
"Great minds discuss ideas; average minds discuss events; small minds discuss people." Eleanor Roosevelt
"The time is always right to do what is right" Martin Luther King
Dr. Alina M. Szmant
Professor of Marine Biology
Center for Marine Science and Dept of Biology and Marine Biology
University of North Carolina Wilmington
5600 Marvin Moss Ln
Wilmington NC 28409 USA
tel: 910-962-2362 fax: 910-962-2410 cell: 910-200-3913
From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov [mailto:coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov] On Behalf Of mtupper
Sent: Tuesday, January 28, 2014 11:50 AM
To: coral list; Douglas Fenner; Steve Mussman
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Lionfish in the news
Steve and Doug,
I think that whether or not lionfish removal from small areas could boost grouper and/or snapper recruitment through predation release would depend on a couple of things, such as:
1. Do the grouper or snapper species in question have specific nursery habitats that are spatially restricted? If yes, then removal of lionfish from those nursery habitats could conceivably reduce predation on the young of year enough to boost recruitment. If no, i.e. the juvenile grouper or snapper are habitat generalists and are spread out over a large area, then removal of lionfish from small reef areas is unlikely to affect predation and subsequent recruitment success.
2. What is the depth at which grouper and snapper juveniles typically recruit?
For species like Nassau grouper, red hind, grey snapper, etc., the depths at which young of year recruit are well within diving depths and so lionfish removal from juvenile habitat may be feasible. For other commercially important species such as red or vermilion snapper, the juveniles recruit at depths of 50 m or more, which is too deep for diver removal but certainly within the depth range of lionfish.
Steve also raises a valid point about snapper and grouper declines. These declines have occurred from decades of fishing pressure and environmental degradation. Some of the hardest-hit populations (e.g. Trinidad) are in areas where lionfish have still not gained a foothold. That of course does not in any way lessen the threat that lionfish currently pose.
Dr. Mark Tupper
Coastal Resources Association
2503-13618 100 Ave, Surrey, BC, Canada V3T 0A8 www.coastal-resources.org
Email: mtupper at coastal-resources.org
> On January 27, 2014 at 11:34 AM Steve Mussman <sealab at earthlink.net> wrote:
> I believe the article raises more questions than it answers.
> The most obvious issue may be related to the size of the reef areas
> involved in the study:
> "A typical reef site, which is about a third the size of a basketball court"
> . . ONE THIRD THE SIZE OF A BASKETBALL COURT?
> How does a study carried out on such infinitesimal areas of reef apply
> to the issue as a whole? It is one thing to control lionfish on these
> small parcels, but how do you apply the same techniques effectively to
> vast areas of reefs many of which are at depths below which divers can even access?
> The article also implies that the main reason for grouper and snapper
> declines is lionfish . . . wonder how they came to that conclusion?
> -----Original Message-----
> >From: Douglas Fenner
> >Sent: Jan 25, 2014 8:33 PM
> >To: coral list
> >Subject: [Coral-List] Lionfish in the news
> >Title: "Invasive Lionfish, the Kings of the Caribbean, may have met
> >their match." (put the emphasis on "may have") I noted the statement
> >at the end of the article that invasive species now cost the U.S.A.
> >$120 billion dollars a year. That's "billion" with a "B." (many or
> >most of the species that add to that cost are terrestrial or fresh
> >Older stories:
> >"Caribbean's native predators unable to stop aggressive lionfish
> >population growth"
> >The IndoPacific Lionfish Invasion (tons of info)
> >REEF lionfish research program
> >Be sure to check the expansion of the lionfish in the map on this
> >page, the expansion clearly continues, now covers the entire US
> >eastern seaboard, Bermuda, Caribbean to the eastern end, and Gulf of
> >Mexico. It takes a minute to load, but it continues to 2013.
> >Douglas Fenner
> >Contractor with Ocean Associates, Inc.
> >PO Box 7390
> >Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799 USA
> >phone 1 684 622-7084
> >Coral-List mailing list
> >Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
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