BSc Honours Natural Resources & Conservation, University of British Columbia
What I am now
From polar oceans to tropical seas, in the face of climate change and species invasions, populations of marine organisms appear particularly vulnerable to rapid shifts in biotic and abiotic ecosystem characteristics. I am intrigued by how these effects manifest themselves in the fisheries and local communities that depend on aquatic resources.
One particularly problematic species invasion is that of the Indo-Pacific lionfishes (Pterois volitans and P. miles) into the Caribbean region. These predators have rapidly swept through the area, wreaking havoc on coral reef communities, with observed and anticipated effects to the abundance, recruitment, distribution, behaviour, and catchability of currently valuable commercial species.
In an attempt to quantify some of the effects of the lionfish invasion on the Bahamian lobster trap fishery, my research is examining whether lionfish and lobsters overlap in their habitat preferences in the wild, and the extent to which this can explain lionfish use of lobster traps. With semi-structured interviews, I am also assessing the perception by lobster fishermen of lionfish as a problem and a threat to their livelohood. My hope is that these contributions will offer new insights into the effective management of the fishery, inform conservation efforts, and ultimately mitigate some of the negative socioeconomic impacts to Bahamian fishery-dependent communities.