Semester of Graduation

Spring 2022


Master of Oceanography and Coastal Sciences (SOCS)


Oceanography and Coastal Sciences

Document Type



Invasive species are known to cause economic and ecological damage worldwide, with many aquatic and terrestrial species extending outside their range. Invasive lionfish, Pterois volitans and Pterois miles, are currently some of the most destructive marine species, being released into non-native Atlantic waters, gaining a foothold, and expanding at explosive rates. While attempts have been made to cull their populations through various methods, primarily spearfishing, their populations continue to grow and their ranges expand showing a need for a deeper understanding of their ecology to more effectively model and target them. In this work, two avenues of lionfish ecology which are currently poorly understood will be explored; differences in feeding behavior under differing light conditions and in-situ movement speeds of lionfish living in shallow reef environments. As lionfish populations expand geographically, their movement speeds will be an important factor in understanding where individual fish may spread and what impacts they may have to native fish populations. In addition, their proliferation has been documented to include much deeper habitats than what is typically considered in reef ecology, and as such experiments were run to determine what difference, if any, in feeding rates occurred under different light conditions. In-situ movement speed and behavioral categorization were completed using stereoscopic systems and photogrammetric analysis. Results of the laboratory experiments suggest that differences in lionfish feeding do occur under different light conditions.

Committee Chair

Dr. Cassandra Glaspie