Monthly Archives: February 2016

Salty Topics: A Thorny Matter: Invasion of the Indo-Pacific Lionfish in the Western Atlantic

lionfishInvasive Indo-Pacific Lionfish were introduced by aquarium hobbyists to waters off the southeast coast of Florida in the 1980s.  Over the past ten years, these beautiful, ornate fish have rapidly spread across the entire tropical western Atlantic, from North Carolina to Venezuela, throughout the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico.  The population sizes in the invaded range commonly exceed those from their native habitats by several orders of magnitude.  With a seemingly insatiable appetite for our native fishes, and a lack of local predators and disease to keep them in check, Lionfish can have detrimental effects on the invaded marine ecosystem.  In this talk, we will review the history of the invasion, discuss the biology and ecology that has allowed them to be so successful, highlight some damaging impacts they can have, and finish with what scientists are doing to combat the problem.

On Thursday, March 3rd, UF/IFAS Extension, Florida Sea Grant at Weedon Island Preserve welcomes Dr. Chris Stallings, University of South Florida College of Marine Science, to present “Salty Topics: A Thorny Matter: Invasion of the Indo-Pacific Lionfish in the Western Atlantic”. The educational program is intended for adult and high school age audiences.

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Clam Farming in Southwest Florida

Sunray venus clams are a new aquaculture product in Florida.

Sunray venus clams are a new aquaculture product in Florida.

Shellfish aquaculture is a relatively new pursuit in Florida. It began in the 1970s in the Indian River Lagoon when attempts were made to culture hard clams as a means of taking pressure off declining wild populations. Techniques for producing seed clams had been developed 20 years prior and Harbor Branch Oceanographic Institution (HBOI) developed early grow-out technologies based on culture methods already used in the Northeast but modified for Florida’s subtropical and subtidal conditions.

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