Bayraktarov, Elisa, Alarcón-Moscoso, Javier, Polanco F., Andrea and Wild, Christian (2014) Spatial and temporal distribution of the invasive lionfishPterois volitansin coral reefs of Tayrona National Natural Park, Colombian Caribbean. PeerJ, 2 . e397. DOI

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The lionfish Pterois volitans is an invasive species throughout the Western Atlantic that disturbs functioning of local ecosystems such as coral reefs via fast and intense consumption of small fish and invertebrates. In 2009, lionfish populated the bays of Tayrona National Natural Park (TNNP), a biodiversity hotspot in the Colombian Caribbean that is strongly influenced by changing environmental conditions due to a rainy and dry season. So far, the spatial and temporal distribution of P. volitans in the bays of TNNP is unknown. Therefore, this study assessed the abundance and body lengths of P. volitans during monthly surveys throughout the year 2012 in four bays (thereof two bays where lionfish removals were undertaken) of TNNP at 10 m water depth in coral reefs using transect tools. Findings revealed lionfish abundances of 2.9 ± 0.9 individuals ha−1 with lengths of 20–25 cm for TNNP, hinting to an established, mostly adult local population. Actual TNNP lionfish abundances are thereby very similar to those at Indo–Pacific reef locations where the invasive lionfish formerly originated from. Significant spatial differences for lionfish abundances and body lengths between different bays in TNNP suggest habitat preferences of P. volitans depending on age. Lionfish abundances were highly variable over time, but without significant differences between seasons. Removals could not reduce lionfish abundances significantly during the period of study. This study therefore recommends improved management actions in order to control the already established invasive lionfish population in TNNP.

Document Type: Article
Programme Area: UNSPECIFIED
Research affiliation: Ecology
Refereed: Yes
Open Access Journal?: Yes
ISSN: 2167-8359
Date Deposited: 08 Aug 2019 17:09
Last Modified: 01 Oct 2020 12:59

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