Authors

Evan Hovey

Document Type

Internship Report

Publication Date

Fall 2018

Abstract

The explosion of the invasive lionfish (P. miles and P. volitans) populations in the Western Atlantic and Caribbean Sea has begun to emerge as a threat to the region’s coral reef ecosystems. Comparing different population traits can shed light on how differing invaded regions and their biophysical characteristics are shaping populations of this highly adaptable invasive species. By gathering information on different populations, it may be possible to find a way to mitigate the lionfish invasion on either a local scale or possibly even the Western Atlantic and Caribbean as a whole. We sampled lionfish from the Dry Tortugas National Park. Data from other regions such as Flower Garden Banks, North Carolina, and Bonaire were gathered from existing data sets. Lionfish were speared in all locations and each region had a wide range of data recorded. Mean lengths were investigated for all four of the regions while wet weight, length weight relationships, and sex ratios were observed for Dry Tortugas and Flower Garden Banks. The mean lengths of each region had significant differences from one another, except the mean lengths of the Flower Garden Banks and North Carolina. The mean weights were significantly different between Flower Garden Banks and Dry Tortugas, however, the sex ratios between the two were considered insignificant. This data gives insight into how the four populations in the regions differ. This data can provide possible insight into localized methods of control of the species as well as provide information on how other populations may be adapting to specific environmental and biophysical conditions similar to those found in this study. Work is still needed to understand the invasive lionfish and its impacts in the western Atlantic as well as to find more ways to mitigate this crisis.

Comments

Department: MBE

MPS Track: TME

Location: Dry Tortugas National Park

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