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Marine Ecology Progress Series

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MEPS 558:161-165 (2016)  -  DOI:

Lionfish: a major marine invasion

Mark A. Hixon1,*, Stephanie J. Green2, Mark A. Albins3, John L. Akins4, James A. Morris Jr.5

1Department of Biology, University of Hawai‘i at Mānoa, Honolulu, HI 96822, USA
2Center for Ocean Solutions, Stanford University, Monterey, CA 93940, USA
3Dauphin Island Sea Lab, University of South Alabama, Dauphin Island, AL 36528, USA
4Reef Environmental Education Foundation, Key Largo, FL 33037, USA
5Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research, National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science, National Ocean Service, National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration, Beaufort, NC 28516, USA
*Corresponding author:

ABSTRACT: Indo-Pacific lionfish Pterois volitans/miles were likely introduced to Florida coastal waters via the aquarium trade and have spread rapidly along the southeastern coast of the United States and throughout the greater Caribbean region, including Bermuda and the Gulf of Mexico. This mesopredator has strong consumptive effects on native demersal fishes, especially on coral reefs but also including a variety of other nearshore habitats. The invader may also have substantial indirect effects on reef ecosystems by overconsuming ecologically important species. Given growing concern over what is likely the most damaging marine fish invasion to date globally, this Theme Section presents findings reported during a lionfish symposium at the Gulf and Caribbean Fisheries Institute annual conference convened in Panama City, Panama, in November 2015. New findings include mechanisms that enhance the success of the invader, the extremely broad and variable diet of invasive lionfish, the ecological effects of the invader on native fish populations in various environmental contexts, and non-consumptive interactions between invasive lionfish and native predators.

KEY WORDS: Lionfish · Invasion · Predation · Reef fishes

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Cite this article as: Hixon MA, Green SJ, Albins MA, Akins JL, Morris JA Jr (2016) Lionfish: a major marine invasion. Mar Ecol Prog Ser 558:161-165.

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