Coming to an estuary (and maybe a restaurant) near you!
Lionfish, a popular aquarium fish native to the Indo-Pacific, have spread across the entire Caribbean region and to the coast of North Carolina in little over a decade. Some have identified the invasion as one of the foremost global environmental challenges in the marine realm. Lionfish have few predators, display a novel feeding strategy, and prey do not recognize them as a threat — all of these factors result in decimated fish populations in areas where lionfish are abundant. Pressure through human fishing is likely the only means to control lionfish numbers, although even this approach presents some paradoxical conservation challenges. Should you eat lionfish? Maybe, maybe not. Either way, this fish is here to stay.
About our Speaker
Dr. Craig Layman is an Associate Professor in the Department of Applied Ecology at North Carolina State University (http://www4.ncsu.edu/~calayman/ ). Before moving to North Carolina he was an Assistant Professor at Florida International University in Miami, following his tenure Donnelley Environmental Fellow at Yale. His work is couched from a food-web based perspective, exploring top-down (e.g., predation) and bottom-up (e.g., nutrient excretion) mechanisms by which animals affect ecosystem processes. All of his efforts are framed within a broader outreach framework, directly integrating science and education (http://absci.fiu.edu/ ).