Lionfish Hunters: Research Begins
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Me with a Conch shell we pulled out of the ocean, while collecting specimen. Don't worry we put everything back,

Well I can’t say I’m disappointed that we haven’t caught/seen very many Lionfish because they don’t belong here, however I am very surprised to see so few. I’m utilizing the roving diver technique, as it is often the best way to find elusive and cryptic species. While not only specifically looking for lionfish at each dive site, I am also taking fish counts for the indicator species. This data can be incorporated into any of the researcher’s papers if they need it. After all we are a TEAM!

The first day of research dives we speared a lionfish. It was roughly 7 inches out of the water and after we “Macgyvered” a dissecting kit, we established its’ stomach was empty. Very interesting. Hopefully between our dives tomorrow and Friday we will find a  few larger ones potentially with full stomachs!

Pterois volitans - Lionfish

 

Though today’s dive was unsuccessful at finding any lionfish, we did see several large grouper and snapper. This may be an indication as to why so few lionfish were found  at these particular dive sites. I was also ecstatic to catch a glimpse of a young sea turtle, and lucky for my daughters I took a picture too!!! I was informed they were very impressed with “Crush”. Maybe some of you get that.

I am so anxious for our dives tomorrow. Every dive is better than the last, and in the evening we will have our one and only night dive! If there is one thing I have been nervous about on this trip it’s the night dive. Well, I can only hope it goes very smoothly, and we see some amazing things that hide out during the day. This trip has yet to disappoint, and I don’t see tomorrow as being an exception!!!

 

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5 Responses to Lionfish Hunters: Research Begins

  1. Donna Ewing says:

    Taryn,

    I can see you are having a great time. Thank you for sharing your story and your photos. Yes, I can imagine “Crush” was a big hit with your children. They are probably at school telling all their friends. I look forward to any on-campus presentations you give when you return.

    Donna Ewing
    Biology
    MCC

    • Taryn Taryn says:

      Thank you professor Ewing. I am really looking forward to finishing my paper, putting my poster together on the software they purchased for us, and doing presentations!!

  2. Nancy says:

    Crush and the beautiful conch shell are awesome!! I’m sorry you aren’t seeing a lot of lionfish, but like you said, that’s good. Do you think the grouper and snapper are eating the lionfish, or just scaring them off?

    • Taryn Taryn says:

      I think the local effort to spear the lion fish probably has a lot to do with it. We saw four during today’s dives and speared three. I asked the boat workers if they would be interested in assisting me by gutting the fish, in exchange for the fillets! What a good trade off. I wanted to see the stomach contents and they could have the meat!

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