Venomous Lionfish Invade South Florida Waters
Through the mist in the early morning hours the Vone Research Vessel makes its way out to sea carrying a small group of volunteers who are on a mission. A mission to find and capture one of the most beautiful yet dreaded invaders ever introduced to our South Florida waters; the lionfish.
There have been a reported 68 different invading marine species found throughout Florida, the Caribbean, and the Gulf of Mexico over the last century according to the U.S. Geological Survey, but none have wreaked as much havoc on the marine environment as the voracious red lionfish that devour native fish populations wherever it invades. Lionfish have no known predators because they do not belong in these waters. There is nothing here to eat them, and nothing to stop them from consuming all of South Florida's reef fish. Lionfish were once among the Top 10 imported tropical fish for aquariums, but when the lionfish grew too large aquarium owners began dumping the fish into the waters of the Atlantic. Now they are breeding at a pace so rapid that scientists and volunteers are feverishly trying to fight the invasion. To do this they are studying and collecting the lionfish, trying to eliminate a species now found in deep as well as shallow waters. Dr. Mark A. Hixon, Professor of Zoology, and a team of graduate and undergraduate students from Oregon State University have demonstrated that a single lionfish can reduce the population of juvenile fish on small coral reefs by 80 percent in just five weeks. One large lionfish can consume 20 smaller coral reef fish in a 30-minute period. Lionfish are carnivores that can eat other fish up to two-thirds their own length. The loss of the herbivorous fish on the reefs will set the stage for seaweed to potentially overwhelm the coral reefs and disrupt the stability of the environment in which they exist. Once established lionfish will destroy our reefs and throw our entire ecosystem out of balance leaving our coral reefs to die and seaweed to take over. Please help Vone Research stop the invasion of this highly venomous species by supporting our efforts and this website... before it is too late!
Collection for Reef Protection!
Website Designed by Tami Beckel for Vone Research, Inc. © 2010. Vone Research is a 501(c)3, non profit organization.