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A meta-analysis of invasive lionfish diet throughout the temperate and tropical western Atlantic

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Abstract

Invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans/miles) have spread across much of the tropical and sub-tropical Western Atlantic, and their range continues to expand along the east coast of South America. Their diet is composed primarily of teleost fish, followed by shrimp and then other crustaceans. At local scales, lionfish have been shown to reduce benthic biomass as well as fish recruitment, biomass, and species richness, evenness, and diversity. However, evidence suggests that lionfish diet composition and their ecological impacts are not uniform between locations. The goal of this research is to fully characterize and compare lionfish diet throughout the invaded region. Our meta-analysis, which uses a combination of published and unpublished diet datasets, will help identify potential diet trends and prey preferences, and help determine relative ecological and commercial impacts of lionfish.
Lionfish Stomach
Content Analysis Tool
To simplify and standardize our diet analyses, we
created the Lionfish Stomach Content Analysis tool.
The Tool is built within the NOAA Lionfish Database
and uses Microsoft Access-based queries and Visual
Basic Programming. Users can query a subset of the
database based on a variety of parameters of interest
(e.g., location), and can summarize and analyze the
data in a number of user-defined ways (e.g., stomach
and/or taxon-based summaries, and indices of prey
importance).
Summary
Invasive lionfish (Pterois volitans/miles) have spread across much of the tropical and sub-tropical Western Atlantic, and their range continues to expand along the east
coast of South America. Their diet is composed primarily of teleost fish, followed by shrimp and then other crustaceans. At local scales, lionfish have been shown to reduce
benthic biomass as well as fish recruitment, biomass, and species richness, evenness, and diversity. However, evidence suggests that lionfish diet composition and their
ecological impacts are not uniform between locations. The goal of this research is to fully characterize and compare lionfish diet throughout the invaded region. Our meta-
analysis, which uses a combination of published and unpublished diet datasets, will help identify potential diet trends and prey preferences, and help determine relative
ecological and commercial impacts of lionfish.
Acknowledgments
We thank the NOAA Hollings Scholar Program and
NOAA National Centers for Coastal Ocean Science
for providing funding for this project. We also thank all
of those who helped with data collection and prey
identification. This work is being done as J. Peake’s
senior thesis at The University of Miami.
Results Continued
3,934 stomachs analyzed, of which 2,828 contained
prey (28.1% empty)
107 species from 38 families identified from 8,180
prey items
Fish make up majority of the diet (89.7% IRI)
followed by shrimp (9.2% IRI)
Fish families vary in presence and importance
Families of high ecological and economic
importance abundant in lionfish diet
Parrotfish (key grazers) most important in Mexico,
but fifth most important in Gulf and NC
Snapper (key commercial fishery) most important in
NC, but fourth most important in Florida
JONATHAN PEAKE1, ALEX BOGDANOFF2,3, ROLDAN MUNOZ4, VERA SANDEL5, ROBERT ELLIS6, NICHOLAS HIGGS7,
MICHELLE JOHNSTON8, JUAN CARLOS VILLASENOR-DERBEZ9, CRAIG LAYMAN3, AND JAMES A. MORRIS, JR.2
Preliminary Results
Figure 1: Homepage of NOAA Lionfish Database (a) and
Stomach Content Analysis Tool (b).
Figure 2: Distribution of Lionfish Prey Items by Location. Pie chart size is proportionate to the number of stomachs analyzed: Bahamas (965),
Northern Gulf of Mexico (676), North Carolina (360), Mexico (321), Costa Rica (298), Florida (208). Percentages and fish family rankings based on IRI
(Bahamas, North Carolina, Mexico, Costa Rica) or %N (Gulf of Mexico, Florida) if data on prey weight were unavailable.
Regression Pearson’s
Coefficient
Spearman’s
Rho
Kendall’s
Tau
SL on Number of Prey Items -.042*
.1005***
.0760***
SL on Total Prey Weight .019
.1742***
.1243***
SL on Average Prey Weight .1097***
.1123***
.0766***
SL on Number of Shrimp Prey .0138
.1207***
.0949***
SL on Weight of Shrimp Prey .0345
.0109
.0084
SL on Number of Fish Prey -.0206
.0333
.0262*
Latitude on Number of Prey in stomach .0575***
.
2118***
.1730***
Latitude on Total Prey Weight .2549***
.
2357***
.1716***
Analysis Kruskal-Wallis Rank Sum Test
Lionfish Standard Length ***
Number of Prey Items *
Total Prey Weight ***
Average Prey Weight ***
Table 1: Correlations and trends in lionfish diet (SL=standard length)
Significance:
*= p<0.05
** = p<0.01
*** = p<0.001
Table 2: Population and diet differences by location
Methods
Data was obtained from 6 locations: North Carolina (1
dataset), Bahamas (2), Florida (2), Caribbean Mexico
(2), Costa Rica (1), and Gulf of Mexico (1 dataset).
Information was obtained on lionfish size, weight, and
stomach contents including prey identification, weight
or volume, number per sample, lengths, and prey
digestion level. All data was formatted and imported
into the NOAA Lionfish Database. Calculation of
Indices of Relative Importance (IRI) and other
analytical values were performed using the Lionfish
Stomach Content Analysis Tool. Statistical and
correlation analyses were performed using R
Statistical Software.
a) b)
Next Steps
Collect datasets at GCFI!
Further develop diet metrics for comparison
Author Affiliations
1The University of Miami, The Rosenstiel School, 4600 Rickenbacker Causeway Miami, FL 33149
U.S.A jonathan.peake@noaa.gov
2NOAA, National Ocean Service, 101 Pivers Island Rd. Beaufort, NC 28516 U.S.A
alex.bogdanoff@noaa.gov, james.morris@noaa.gov
3 North Carolina State University, Department of Applied Ecology, 123 David Clark Labs, Raleigh, NC
27695 U.S.A. akbogdan@ncsu.edu, cal1634@yahoo.com
4NOAA, National Marine Fisheries Service, 101 Pivers Island Rd. Beaufort, NC 28516 U.S.A
Roldan.munoz@noaa.gov
5Programa de Maestría en Ciencias Marinas y Costeras de la Universidad Nacional de Costa Rica,
Avenida 2, Puntarenas, Costa Rica vera_1104@gmx.de
6Florida State University, Department of Biological Science, Tallahassee, FL 32306-4295, USA
rdellis@bio.fsu.edu
7Marine Institute, Plymouth University, PL4 8AA Plymouth, United Kingdom; email:
nicholas.higgs@plymouth.ac.uk
8NOAA, National Ocean Service, Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary, 4700 Avenue U,
Bldg. 216, Galveston, TX 77551, U.S.A. michelle.a.johnston@noaa.gov
9University California, Santa Barbara, Bren School of Environmental Science and Management, Bren
Hall, Isla Vista, CA 93117 juancarlos.villader@gmail.com
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