[Coral-List] Lionfish in the news

Eugene Shinn eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu
Thu Jan 30 15:04:26 EST 2014

   It was interesting reading through the most recent postings on 
Lionfish. In one of the websites I noted (in the 2009 USGS map of 
lionfish sightings) that they had not yet reached the Windward Islands 
or at least had not been observed  there yet. However, a more recent map 
someone working on Lionfish showed me indicates that they are now in the 
Windward Island but have not yet made the jump to the southern end of 
the island chain. Nevertheless, considering how long they have been in 
the Caribbean they should have reached those islands long before 2009.  
If they really were not in the the windwards islands by 2009 there was a 
good reason why. They, or their eggs and larvae, would have to swim 
against a strong East to West current. But that's no problem.  Many 
researchers had no problem accepting the hypothesis that what ever 
decimated Diadema in 1983 started around the Panama Canal were not 
stopped by the current and in less than a year had reached the Windward 
Islands. Also, the Caribbean-wide demise of Acroporids (including the 
Windward Islands) occurred during the same year (1983). Humm. Again it 
is possible that Lionfish did make it to the Windward Islands long 
before 2009 but just had not been observed yet. It would be interesting 
to know when they actually did reach the islands. Clearly the pathogen 
that caused Diadema and Acroporid demise made the trip. I wonder if it 
could be that the Diadema and Acropora pathogen, along with the soil 
fungi that caused the sea fan disease, just dropped out of the the 
prevailing trade winds in 1983? Something to ponder.
Nevertheless I suspect  we will be discussing Lionfish immigration for 
as long as congress discusses immigration reform.
Hopefully they will just die off from natural causes, the lionfish that 
is.  Gene


No Rocks, No Water, No Ecosystem (EAS)
------------------------------------ -----------------------------------
E. A. Shinn, Courtesy Professor
University of South Florida
College of Marine Science Room 221A
140 Seventh Avenue South
St. Petersburg, FL 33701
<eugeneshinn at mail.usf.edu>
Tel 727 553-1158
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