[Coral-List] lionfish control study

Stephanie Green stephanie.green at sfu.ca
Thu Jan 30 16:59:24 EST 2014

Dear listers,

I'm writing to alert you of a study we've just published on the effect 
of invasive lionfish control on native reef fish communities in the 
Atlantic: http://www.esajournals.org/doi/abs/10.1890/13-0979.1.

Our work 1) looks at whether suppressing lionfish at local scales 
results in the recovery and protection of resident prey fishes, and 2) 
develops a model for estimating targets for control, based on the degree 
to which lionfish abundance must be reduced to alleviate predation 
effects. The study took place on 24 patch reefs in the Bahamas, each 
~150m2and harboring an average of 30 lionfish, where we reduced lionfish 
to target abundances through monthly culling. Over 18 months, the 
biomass of native prey fishes increased an average 50-70% on reefs where 
lionfish numbers were suppressed below levels predicted to cause prey 
depletion. On the reefs we studied, this equated to removing 75-95% of 
lionfish. On reefs where lionfish numbers remained higher than target 
levels, the biomass of prey fishes decreased by a further 50%. While 
complete eradication of lionfish from the Caribbean is not likely, 
groups are actively culling them from coastal areas (mostly via spear 
and net). Our study is a first step in showing that strategic local 
efforts that suppress the invasion to low levels can help protect and 
recover native fish communities affected by lionfish.
This research was conducted at the Cape Eleuthera Institute in 
collaboration with Simon Fraser University, the Cape Eleuthera 
Institute, and Reef Environmental Education Foundation.

If you have questions about this work or would like a copy of the 
article, please email me at stephanie.green at science.oregonstate.edu.


Stephanie Green

Media summaries on this paper are available at:

Stephanie Green, PhD
David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellow
Department of Zoology
Oregon State University
3029 Cordley Hall
Corvallis, OR 97331-2914
Tel: 541-908-3839
Fax: 541-737-0501

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