Environmental and Biotic Correlates to Lionfish Invasion Success in Bahamian Coral Reefs

Lionfish (Pterois volitans) from the Indo-Pacific have recently invaded the Caribbean and southeastern coast of North America. This study looked at lionfish abundances and the physical and environmental characteristics of the invasion process of reefs on the island of San Salvador in the Bahamas. Lionfish abundance was significantly higher at sheltered sites compared to wave-exposed environments. This finding suggests that high-energy environments can provide native fish populations with natural refuges to lionfish invasions. It was further found that the abundance of medium prey fish and large native predators (large native groupers) did not negatively affect abundance of lionfish, however there was a relatively low biomass of large grouper on the island. The authors recommend that managers continue to protect and restore lionfish predators in the Caribbean.

Author: Anton, A., M.S. Simpson, and I. Vu
Year: 2014
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PLoS ONE 9(9): e106229. doi:10.1371/journal.pone.0106229

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