[Coral-List] New Research on the Lionfish Invasion

Hogan, James James.Hogan at tamucc.edu
Thu Dec 21 11:04:56 EST 2017

Hi Coral-listers,

I wanted to give attention to the latest research on the lionfish invasion from the HoBi (Hogan & Bird) lab at Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi. See our new paper here: https://peerj.com/articles/3996
In this paper we recreate the lionfish invasion using a coupled genetic-demographic model to determine the initial founding population size of lionfish in the Atlantic. There are plenty of myths out there about how the invasion started including the widespread idea that they were accidentally released as a result of damage to an aquarium/shop during a hurricane in Miami. Previous genetic estimates of the founding population size are small (~10 individuals) because 9 female genetic lineages have been observed in the invaded range. Given the genetic diversity in the native range however, it is unlikely that only 9 females, introduced at random, could generate the diversity seen in the invaded range. Our new simulations indicate it was likely between 100 - 300 individuals that were introduced that ultimately precipitated the invasion we see today. Understanding how this invasion began can help us understand the steps necessary to prevent future invasions like the lionfish.

Happy reading

J. Derek Hogan
Assistant Professor
Department of Life Sciences
Texas A&M University - Corpus Christi
james.hogan at tamucc.edu

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