An ecological disaster is currently unfolding on Caribbean reefs. Lionfish from the Indo-Pacific were introduced to the eastern coast of the USA in the early 1990s. They are now spreading rapidly across coral reefs of the Caribbean region and are now found in phenomenally high densities on some Bahamian reefs (Green and Côté 2008). These predatory fish hunt in broad daylight (Côté and Maljković 2010), have few predators, and are highly fecund. The TMEL’s present work focuses on examining how habitat heterogeneity affects lionfish movement, and hence invasion speed (Natascia Tamburello), predicting the ecological impacts of this invasion on native reef fish and testing how best to control lionfish numbers to mitigate their effects (Stephanie Green), and evaluating the economic impacts of this invasions (Evan Henderson).
Some of our publications on marine invasions
- Côté, I.M. and Green, S.J. 2012. Potential effects of climate change on a marine invasion: the importance of current context. Current Zoology 58: 1-8.
- Green, S.J., Akins, J.L, Maljković, A. and Côté, I.M. 2012. Invasive lionfish drive native Atlantic coral reef fish declines. PLOS One 7(3), e32596.
- Darling, E.S., Green, S.J., O’Leary, J.K. and Côté, I.M. 2011. Indo-Pacific lionfish are larger and more abundant on invaded reefs: A comparison of Kenyan and Bahamian lionfish populations. Biological Invasions 13, 2045-2051.
- Côté, I.M and Maljković, A. 2010. Predation rates of Indo-Pacific lionfish on Bahamian coral reefs. Marine Ecology Progress Series 404, 219-225.