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MEPS
Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 527:205-220 (2015)  -  DOI: https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11241

Movement of invasive adult lionfish Pterois volitans using telemetry: importance of controls to estimate and explain variable detection probabilities

Nathan M. Bacheler1,*, Paula E. Whitfield2, Roldan C. Muñoz1, Brett B. Harrison2, Craig A. Harms3, Christine A. Buckel2

1Southeast Fisheries Science Center, National Marine Fisheries Service, NOAA, 101 Pivers Island Road, Beaufort, North Carolina 28516, USA
2Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research, NOAA, 101 Pivers Island Road, Beaufort, North Carolina 28516, USA
3Department of Clinical Sciences and Center for Marine Sciences and Technology, North Carolina State University, 303 College Circle, Morehead City, North Carolina 28557, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: The Indo-Pacific lionfish Pterois volitans has invaded western Atlantic Ocean coastal habitats over the past 2 decades and has the potential to cause major ecological changes in reef fish communities. While many aspects of lionfish ecology in their invaded range have been examined, there is a paucity of information on movements of lionfish, particularly adults. We surgically implanted ultrasonic transmitters into 25 lionfish at a natural hard bottom area off North Carolina (USA) in December 2008 and February 2009, and used an array of remote underwater receivers to monitor movements in the study area for up to 6 mo. We also affixed a control transmitter in the study area to assess changes in transmitter detection rate as a function of multiple variables, and used a generalized additive model to show that the control transmitter detection rate declined with time, increasing water temperature, and increasing wave period. Despite variable detection probabilities, we found that telemetered lionfish remaining in the study area displayed high site fidelity to areas no broader than 400 m in diameter; daily movements were nearly always <150 m. By estimating variable detection rates of transmitters and lionfish movements, we provided information that can be useful in understanding the spatial scale of lionfish impact and developing management or mitigation strategies for this invasive species.


KEY WORDS: Indo-Pacific lionfish · Invasive species · Acoustic tagging · Range test · Ultrasonic transmitter · Telemetry · Movements · Receiver array


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Cite this article as: Bacheler NM, Whitfield PE, Muñoz RC, Harrison BB, Harms CA, Buckel CA (2015) Movement of invasive adult lionfish Pterois volitans using telemetry: importance of controls to estimate and explain variable detection probabilities. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 527:205-220. https://doi.org/10.3354/meps11241

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