Free Newsletters - Space - Defense - Environment - Energy - Solar - Nuclear
..
. Earth Science News .




WATER WORLD
War on lionfish shows first promise of success
by Staff Writers
Corvallis OR (SPX) Jan 24, 2014


On reefs where lionfish were kept below threshold densities, native prey fish increased by 50-70 percent. It's one of the first studies of its type to demonstrate that reduction of an invasive species below an environmentally damaging threshold, rather than outright eradication, can have comparable benefits.

It may take a legion of scuba divers armed with nets and spears, but a new study confirms for the first time that controlling lionfish populations in the western Atlantic Ocean can pave the way for a recovery of native fish.

Even if it's one speared fish at a time, it finally appears that there's a way to fight back.

Scientists at Oregon State University, Simon Fraser University and other institutions have shown in both computer models and 18 months of field tests on reefs that reducing lionfish numbers by specified amounts - at the sites they studied, between 75-95 percent - will allow a rapid recovery of native fish biomass in the treatment area, and to some extent may aid larger ecosystem recovery as well.

It's some of the first good news in a struggle that has at times appeared almost hopeless, as this voracious, invasive species has wiped out 95 percent of native fish in some Atlantic locations.

"This is excellent news," said Stephanie Green, a marine ecologist in the College of Science at Oregon State University, and lead author on the report just published in Ecological Applications. "It shows that by creating safe havens, small pockets of reef where lionfish numbers are kept low, we can help native species recover.

"And we don't have to catch every lionfish to do it."

That's good, researchers say, because the rapid spread of lionfish in the Atlantic makes eradication virtually impossible. They've also been found thriving in deep water locations which are difficult to access.

The latest research used ecological modeling to determine what percentage of lionfish would have to be removed at a given location to allow for native fish recovery. At 24 coral reefs near Eleuthera Island in the Bahamas, researchers then removed the necessary amount of lionfish to reach this threshold, and monitored recovery of the ecosystem.

On reefs where lionfish were kept below threshold densities, native prey fish increased by 50-70 percent. It's one of the first studies of its type to demonstrate that reduction of an invasive species below an environmentally damaging threshold, rather than outright eradication, can have comparable benefits.

Some of the fish that recovered, such as Nassau grouper and yellowtail snapper, are critically important to local economies. And larger adults can then spread throughout the reef system - although the amount of system recovery that would take place outside of treated areas is a subject that needs additional research, they said.

Where no intervention was made, native species continued to decline and disappear.

The lionfish invasion in the Atlantic, believed to have begun in the 1980s, now covers an area larger than the entirety of the United States. With venomous spines, no natural predators in the Atlantic Ocean, and aggressive behavior, the lionfish have been shown to eat almost anything smaller than they are - fish, shrimp, crabs and octopus. Lionfish can also withstand starvation for protracted periods - many of their prey species will disappear before they do.

Governments, industry and conservation groups across this region are already trying to cull lionfish from their waters, and encourage their use as a food fish. Some removal efforts have concentrated on popular dive sites.

The scientists said in their report that the model used in this research should work equally well in various types of marine habitat, including mangroves, temperate hard-bottom systems, estuaries and seagrass beds.

A major issue to be considered, however, is where to allocate future removal efforts. Marine reserves, which often allow "no take" of any marine life in an effort to recover fish populations, may need to be the focus of lionfish removal. The traditional, hands-off concept in such areas may succeed only in wiping out native species while allowing the invasive species to grow unchecked.

Keeping lionfish numbers low in areas that are hot spots for juvenile fish, like mangroves and shallow reefs, is also crucial, the report said.

This research was done in collaboration with scientists at Simon Fraser University, the Reef Environmental Education Foundation, and the Cape Eleuthera Institute. It has been supported by the Natural Science and Engineering Research Council of Canada, the Boston Foundation and a David H. Smith Conservation Research Fellowship.

"Many invasions such as lionfish are occurring at a speed and magnitude that outstrips the resources available to contain and eliminate them," the researchers wrote in their conclusion.

"Our study is the first to demonstrate that for such invasions, complete extirpation is not necessary to minimize negative ecological changes within priority habitats."

.


Related Links
Oregon State University
Water News - Science, Technology and Politics






Comment on this article via your Facebook, Yahoo, AOL, Hotmail login.

Share this article via these popular social media networks
del.icio.usdel.icio.us DiggDigg RedditReddit GoogleGoogle




Memory Foam Mattress Review
Newsletters :: SpaceDaily :: SpaceWar :: TerraDaily :: Energy Daily
XML Feeds :: Space News :: Earth News :: War News :: Solar Energy News





UAV Payloads 2014, 24 - 25 June - London, UK
WATER WORLD
WTO sets up panel to rule on Mexico-US tuna label feud
Geneva (AFP) Jan 23, 2014
The WTO on Thursday set up a panel in a renewed attempt to settle a dispute over US "dolphin friendly" labels which allegedly hit imports of Mexican-caught tuna, trade sources said. The United States rejects Mexican charges that it has failed to fall into line with a 2012 ruling on the issue by the World Trade Organization's dispute settlement body. As a result, Mexico asked the Geneva-b ... read more


WATER WORLD
Indonesia increases maritime patrols

Mayor of scandal-hit Italy quake town withdraws resignation

UK charity expands Philippine anti-trafficking work

Tornadoes, flood, drought cost US billions in 2013

WATER WORLD
Google says buys artificial intelligence firm DeepMind

'Gears of War' videogame will stay in Xbox arsenal

MDA awarded key development work for exploration and communications

Lenovo to buy IBM's low-end server business for $2.3bn

WATER WORLD
War on lionfish shows first promise of success

WTO sets up panel to rule on Mexico-US tuna label feud

Great Lakes study dispels many misconceptions

Australia's drinking water at risk from extreme weather events

WATER WORLD
Arctic Warmth Unprecedented in 44,000 Years

North and Tropical Atlantic Ocean bringing climate change to Antarctica

Polar bear diet changes as sea ice melts

New sea anemone species discovered in Antarctica

WATER WORLD
Pathogenic plant virus jumps to honeybees

Hong Kong to cull 20,000 chickens after H7N9 found

Halting crop destruction in India saves up to $309 million

No-till soybean fields give (even some rare) birds a foothold in Illinois

WATER WORLD
More Precise Hurricane Forecasts with NASA-NOAA Suomi NPP VIIRS Satellite Sensor

New, younger age determined for the Grand Canyon

Two dead, 27 missing as flood engulfs Indonesia boat

"Sedimentary Bathtub" Amplifies Earthquakes

WATER WORLD
Chinese ivory smuggler in Kenya to test tough new law

Talks to end Mozambique skirmishes resume

Mozambique president inaugurates Chinese-built palace

Sudan warplanes hit rebel-held town: Kordofan insurgents

WATER WORLD
Putting 'Adam' in his rightful place in evolutionary history

Finland's education success opens new business niches

Blue eyes and dark skin, that's how the European hunter-gatherer looked

Calcium absorption not the cause of evolution of milk digestion in Europeans




The content herein, unless otherwise known to be public domain, are Copyright 1995-2014 - Space Media Network. AFP, UPI and IANS news wire stories are copyright Agence France-Presse, United Press International and Indo-Asia News Service. ESA Portal Reports are copyright European Space Agency. All NASA sourced material is public domain. Additional copyrights may apply in whole or part to other bona fide parties. Advertising does not imply endorsement,agreement or approval of any opinions, statements or information provided by Space Media Network on any Web page published or hosted by Space Media Network. Privacy Statement