[Coral-List] Lionfish in the news

Steve Mussman sealab at earthlink.net
Wed Jan 29 13:10:05 EST 2014


   I  believe  that Mumby  et  al published a paper not too long ago that
   addresses some of the issues you raise.


   That was followed up by a subsequent study that challenged many of Mumby's


   So where does that leave us. There is still an ongoing debate as to whether
   or not natural predation of lionfish ever occurs in their new-found ranges..

   I have witnessed several species taking speared lionfish and talked with a
   few divemasters who claim to have seen examples of true natural predation.

   Problem is, large-bodied grouper and snapper were already hard to find on
   many of the Caribbean reefs by the time the lionfish appeared.

   One thing for sure is that it would seem that larger predators on many reefs
   fell victim to something beyond the vociferous appetite of the menacing

   -----Original Message-----
   >From: "Szmant, Alina"
   >Sent: Jan 29, 2014 11:31 AM
   >To: mtupper , coral list , Douglas Fenner , Steve Mussman
   >Subject: RE: [Coral-List] Lionfish in the news
   >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
   >"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
   >-----Original Message-----
   >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
   >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
   >Tel. 1-778-903-6420
   >> On January 27, 2014 at 11:34 AM Steve Mussman wrote:
   >> Doug,
   >> 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
   >> 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?
   >> Steve
   >> -----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
   >> >water)
   >> >
   >> >http://news.yahoo.com/invasive-lionfish-kings-caribbean-may-met-match
   >> >-01160
   >> 0208.html
   >> >
   >> >Older stories:
   >> >
   >> >"Caribbean's native predators unable to stop aggressive lionfish
   >> >population growth"
   >> >
   >> >http://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2013/07/130711172538.htm
   >> >
   >> >The IndoPacific Lionfish Invasion (tons of info)
   >> >
   >> >http://www.coris.noaa.gov/exchanges/lionfish/
   >> >
   >> >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.
   >> >
   >> >http://www.reef.org/lionfish
   >> >
   >> >--
   >> >Douglas Fenner
   >> >Contractor with Ocean Associates, Inc.
   >> >PO Box 7390
   >> >Pago Pago, American Samoa 96799 USA
   >> >
   >> >phone 1 684 622-7084
   >> >_______________________________________________
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   >> >Coral-List at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
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   1. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0021510
   2. http://www.plosone.org/article/info%3Adoi%2F10.1371%2Fjournal.pone.0068259

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