Reef Monitoring invites all divers to join in the removal and research of Lionfish (Pterois volitans) out of the Gulf of Mexico on Saturday May 10th, 2014!
This event will help raise awareness, continue research and hopefully help eradicate this invasive species from our midst!
Lionfish compete with native species for resources on the reefs. However, since lionfish also have no natural predators, they themselves are not a food source. This means that they only "take" from the reefs and give nothing back.
Since they do not belong, simply removing them can be our strongest option so far for taking our reefs back!
While we are doing our best to eradicate them, research is still at the heart of everything that Reef Monitoring does. So this event will not simply be a search and destroy. Reef Monitoring will also use every specimen collected to further our research.
Fish will be weighed and measured for empirical data. Stomach contents will be removed and analyzed to study the diets of these fish. What are they eating?
The otolith (ear bone) will be removed from the head of each fish. This can tell us exactly how old the fish is. However scientists believe that the otolith can do more and actually give us further insight to the history of the fish. We are excited to continue this avenue of our research!
The smallest lionfish brought in was 7g which is about 1/100th of a pound!
The largest lionfish brought in was 608g which is about 1.3 lbs!
The total number of lionfish brought in was 64.
Thank you to everyone that participated in the Lionfish Round-Up! We had 97 registered divers! We understand the weather was a significant factor for this event and to those that persevered, we appreciate your effort!
The majority of the lionfish were taken from 100 fsw and deeper for this event. The largest portion of divers were in shallower waters and reported no lionfish sightings which to us is actually good news!
Our students were able to process all lionfish and obtain valuable scientific data from them that will further our research and give us a better understand of this invasive species! Check back with Reef Monitoring often to see any significant results from our research!
Special thanks goes to Alex Fogg with the Gulf Coast Research Laboratory for his assistance on-site with our students!
A special appearance was made by Congressman David Jolly who got a great first-hand look at the lionfish issue and got to speak with our scientists. Congressman Jolly will hopefully raise further statewide awareness of this issue! Thank you Congressman Jolly!
And of course we are grateful for ALL of our sponsors and participants. We could not do anything without your support!