Volume 63

Effects of the Invasive Pacific Red Lionfish on Bahamian Coral Reef Fish Communities: A Large-scale, Long-term Experiment.

Albins, M.A. and M.A. Hixon
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Date: November, 2010

Pages: 329-330

Event: Proceedings of the Sixty-Third Annual Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute

City: San Juan

Country: Puerto Rico


Previous investigations have shown that invasive Pacific red lionfish (Pterois volitans) are generalized predators, consuming a broad diversity of primarily small (less than 5 cm TL) reef fishes (Albins and Hixon 2008, Morris and Akins 2009). In addition, previous experiments conducted on small coral patch reefs have demonstrated that single lionfish are voracious predators of these small fishes, reducing net recruitment of native fishes by 80 to 90% over short time periods (Albins and Hixon 2008, Albins In review). Experiments investigating the effects of lionfish on native coral-reef fish communities have thus far been limited to small patch reefs (several square meters) and short time periods (two months or less), so broader-scale, management-relevant effects remain suggestive. Over time, such drastic effects on the survival of juvenile fishes will likely translate into substantial changes in the adult reef-fish community, both directly by reducing the number of juveniles that survive to adulthood, and indirectly by reducing prey availability for native predators. This outcome could have negative consequences for the resilience of coral-reef ecosystems (Albins and Hixon 2011).

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