Economists develop cost decision making method for lionfish

by Chris Branam,

Lionfish are a prime example of damage caused by an invasive species brought into a new environment. With their venomous spines, aggressive behavior, and few natural enemies, these fish have the potential to harm reef ecosystems in the western Atlantic Ocean.

Natural resource managers need to plan and budget for activities to deal with an invasive animal like the lionfish. But until now there hasn’t been a good method for figuring out how much to spend on gathering the information needed to effectively manage lionfish. Continue reading

Addressing Aquatic Invasive Species webinar

Green Teacher’s upcoming webinars are an interactive way for educators to continue learning about key environmental topics. Our professional development webinar series features some of the most important thinkers in the field of environmental education addressing vital and relevant topics. Continue reading

New technologies give hope for managing invasive species

In USA Today

Even for a native Floridian, the 2015 Everglades Invasive Species Summit was a terrifying experience.

Researchers from various government agencies and universities presented their findings last week on plants and animals that didn’t originate in the Everglades but have established themselves there. Those invasive species pose a threat not just to the delicate ecology of the 1.5 million acres of Everglades National Park, but increasingly pose a threat to humans as their populations flourish and spread.

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Once established, lionfish tend to stay close to home, study finds

Lionfish may quickly overcome native species in an area, but new research has found that they don’t wander very far. Findings from this research may aid efforts to control lionfish populations and estimate their movements.

To study lionfish movements, a group of researchers from North Carolina surgically inserted trackers into 25 lionfish and released them on two different dates, two months apart, at a hard bottom reef called “210 Rock” off of Cape Lookout, North Carolina. The team set up nine receivers around the study site, seven of which remained active for the entirety of the study, which lasted from December 2008 until June 2009. A control transmitter helped the team test the transmission signals since it was attached to one of the receivers and would not move very far.

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Warmer NC waters invite lionfish, a tropical troublemaker

From the News & Observer

by Reid Creager

Rising water temperatures off the North Carolina coast are good news for the expansion of tropical fish and for divers. But they may also add to an underwater menace that could ultimately threaten reefs in the Atlantic.

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Aquarium workers collect invasive lionfish

From the StarNewsOnline


Spiny, striped lionfish are swimming at aquariums in Connecticut, South Carolina and Pine Knoll Shores thanks to staff from the N.C. Aquarium at Fort Fisher, who caught several dozen of the invasive species on two diving trips last month and transported them to other facilities.

“We collected about 48 of them so far this summer,” said Hap Fatzinger, the aquarium’s curator. “There were requests from other facilities that wanted to display Atlantic lionfish, so during dives we made for other animals, we went ahead and grabbed some lionfish as well.”

The lionfish, a spiny, brown-and-white striped animal native to the South Pacific and Indian oceans, has been present in North Carolina waters since at least the early 2000s. While visually stunning, the invasive species is a prolific breeder and a voracious eater that can quickly and easily thin populations of native fish. Lionfish are covered in venomous spikes and thus have very few predators in Carolina waters, which can make it difficult to control their population sprawl.

Snagging a few dozen fish for aquarium displays doesn’t make a dent in those numbers, according to Fatzinger. The only thing that’s proved effective in thinning lionfish populations off the North Carolina coast is cold weather.

“There are some temperature restrictions on them,” Fatzinger said. “The 100-foot water depth is kind of the standard. We might find them in more shallow water in the summer, but we know they persist at greater depths all year.”

Because of their spikes, capturing lionfish is a precarious process. Aquarium staff snag the fish in vinyl nets and transfer them to 5-gallon buckets without touching their bodies, but once the buckets are brought to the surface, avoiding contact becomes more difficult.

Read the rest of the story, along with photos, at StarNewsOnline.

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NC aquarium tries to control invasive lionfish

On Time Warner Cable news

Controlling the population of invasive, venomous lionfish off North Carolina’s coast may be practically impossible but that’s not stopping the North Carolina Aquarium at Fort Fisher from trying.

Staff members continue to go on dives to collect the non-native species and distribute them to aquariums.

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