Last class before the Bahamas: Learning about lionfish

Today, was our last class before we meet at the airport. I can't believe I'm going to be on a boat in a couple days!

 Lionfish (Photo: NOAA)

Our guest speaker today was Don Stark, a volunteer at the New England Aquarium. He talked to us about the lionfish, an invasive species we're most likely going to encounter in the Bahamas. We have lionfish at the New England Aquarium but this lecture was really in depth!

Don Stark

Don Stark showed us a map of lionfish sightings over the past 10 years. There were a few near Miami but then all of a sudden they appeared EVERYWHERE! They were in Mexico, the Bahamas, Dominican Republic and even up here in Massachusetts! We found out that they were going so far because when lionfish lay their eggs, they travel with the current. Don showed us another map of major currents and we saw that there was one in Miami that lead to each of those places.

 Lionfish distribution graphic (Photo: NOAA)

But why did we have to learn about this species? Not only might we see this species, but they are invasive and threatening the health of the coral reefs. lionfish have very few predators because of their venomous spines, and they eat a LOT of juvenile fish that at the algae off of coral. The lionfish have been thriving and it has been threatening the health and balance of the reefs.

It'll be very difficult to remove them, but we can try to control their population. There are some contests in the Turks and Caicos to catch as many lionfish as possible.

After the Don's presentation, we finally found out who our roommates are for our 10 day adventure. Jenna also had us compete in the Packing Olympics!-- Oh! That reminds me! I still have to pack!

Thank you for coming in, Don! It was awesome!

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