Check out this video to see what the lionfish team has been up to this fall! https://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=EbQE-qp33JM
The start of the semester has been an extremely busy and exciting time for the lionfish program. In November, Dr. Jocelyn Curtis-Quick, head of the team, will be heading to Texas to present her work on lobster-lionfish displacement at the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute conference. The purpose of this study is to determine whether lionfish are displacing spiny lobsters in critical habitats and what this means for the economically important lobster fishery. We were also pleased to welcome gap year student Ryan Hodges to our crew, who will be working with us for the next four weeks. His extra set of hands is needed considering we have over 150 hours of video to analyze before the GCFI conference!
All of us are hard at work, but that doesn't mean we don't get to have fun in the field. For the past couple of weeks we have been conducting surveys on the patch reefs between CEI and Rock Sound. Over four intensive days of salty skin, sunscreen, and packed lunches the team identified and recorded over seventy-five species and over three thousand individual fish at sixteen sites. During that time, we were also visited by multiple nurse sharks, a dolphin and sharksuckers that were determined to attach to our SCUBA tanks. A total of twenty lionfish, from twenty-seven centimeters to two centimeters in length, were removed from eight of the sites. Surveys will continue again in December to build data on species occurrences, densities, and overlap on the patches.