Title

Lionfish: Food for Thought

Major

Marine Biology

Advisor

Meyerson, Laura

Advisor Department

Natural Resources Science

Date

5-2017

Keywords

Lionfish; Invasive Species; Lionfish Invasion; Consumption of Lionfish

Abstract

Invasive species are a very serious matter in all parts of the world. One of the biggest current marine threats is the lionfish invasion because they cause significant harm to the environment, economy, and human health. Lionfish is a species of venomous fish that is native to the Indo-Pacific Region. However, they were introduced via the aquarium trade and have now invaded almost all of the Caribbean, Florida, Bermuda, and the Bahamas. Lionfish have the ability to impact ecosystem, economics, and human health of many communities. They have the potential to alter the biodiversity of aquatic ecosystems, which may lead to the extinction of many native fishes. In the future, lionfish may become a serious issue along the east coast of the United States due to climate change causing a rise in sea temperature. It is essential for residents to understand the consequences of these invasive species being released into the waters for people to be able to combat these invaders. Public participation in spearfishing is crucial to control lionfish populations and an added benefit is that they are delicious.

For my honors project, I wanted to convey the importance of lionfish to the public and help educate them in a thought-provoking way. Without people learning about these fish, the lionfish populations will continue to grow and grow. If there is any chance to control these populations, people need to know how they can help. Over the course of my project, I filmed and edited much footage of lionfish. In addition, I interviewed professionals who have personal knowledge about the lionfish invasion. I put together this footage with appropriate facts and music in the hopes of catching the audience’s attention in a fun and interesting way. My goal for this project is to teach something new and significant to the public in the hopes that they will use what they learned to help fight against the lionfish invasion. I expect to convey my message and have people leave the film screening with a new understanding about lionfish. In addition, I plan on posting my film online in order to make it publicly available and advertise it on social media.