Grouper May Combat Lionfish Invasion

Friday 01st, July 2011 / 08:31 Published by

Grouper may be able to limit the invasion of lionfish on Caribbean coral reefs, reports a study published this week in the online journal PLoS One.

Lionfish, which are not found naturally in the Caribbean, are believed to have been released from aquariums in the United States and eventually made their way to the Bahamas in 2004. Lionfish numbers have increased dramatically in the last few years and they have now invaded the entire Caribbean.

Although lionfish are among the most beautiful fish in the sea, they are voracious predators of small fish and conservationists are concerned about their impact on native fish populations.

A research team from the University of Queensland (Australia) and American Museum of Natural History (New York) studied the invasion of lionfish in a remote stretch of coral reef in the Bahamas. The report’s lead author, Professor Peter Mumby, states: “In 2006 we did not encounter any lionfish but by 2010 they were at all of our 12 study sites. However, the number of lionfish was ten times lower in reefs with lots of large groupers”.

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