Biologist, Conservationist, & Portlander. My passion lives in Africa.

Friday, March 8, 2013

Invasive fish cause big problems in fresh and saltwater systems.

8:48 AM Posted by Tara Easter No comments


If you live on the East coast of the U.S. or on islands in the Caribbean Sea, maybe you remember seeing signs such as this one to the left. The lionfish, native to the Indo-Pacific region, was introduced to Florida's waters in the early 90's, most likely a result of the aquatic pet trade, and flourished rapidly. Due to their defensive venomous spines, coloration, habitat generality, low parasite load, efficient predation, rapid growth, and high reproductive rates, they pose high threats to reef and other ecosystems and have already been shown to reduce recruitment of native reef fish by up 80 percent*. 



Numerous studies have launched to measure just how badly they will take a toll on the ecosystem. Campaigns were launched to make people aware that they are edible, because who better to wipe out an unwanted species than humans? 




But then again the more people are around the more they wreak havoc. Here's a picture of a gigantic goldfish....

...found in Lake Tahoe. Another introduction from an aquarium. Check out the article

In the case of the giant goldfish, researchers believe they may actually be harming lake clarity by fueling algae growth with their waste. When biologists find warm water fish during surveys, they remove them."

Moral of these stories: Don't dump your aquarium fish into lakes and oceans!

Yikes. 



*REFERENCES: 



Albins, M., Hixon, M. (2011) Worst case scenario: potential long-term effects of invasive predatory lionfish (Pterios volitans) on Atlantic and Caribbean coral-reef Communities. Environ Biol Fish 1-7-7



Hixon, M., Albins, M., Redinger, T. (2009) Lionfish invasion: Super predator threatens Caribbean coral Reefs. NOAA Research

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