Beautiful and venomous… a combination which will inevitably garner some interest and excitement.  Still, one must never judge a book by its cover.  This has never rung truer than in the case of lionfish.  As the semester progresses, the research team, consisting of JP, True, Holly, Jessica, Ellie and Jack will deepen their understanding of lionfish and their effects on the Bahamas

Native to the Indo-Pacific, witnessing a lionfish can often be considered a treat for divers. This notion was quickly squashed as the team spent their first research Tuesday discussing the fish and its impact on ecosystems, paying close attention to how this invasive can reduce recruitment of native reef fishes.  With a better understanding, the team was ready to literally, dive into their research.  Leading the research team is the infamous Skylar, known to have filleted a whole lionfish in under 5 seconds.  Already managing a separate research program, Skylar and her intern, lionfish ninja (use your imagination people!) Avery, are well prepared to facilitate the research.  After getting suited up for a dive on a local patch reef, faculty advisor Peter heroically led us beneath the calm blue sea.  Before beginning our search, Skylar noted the importance of practicing our “sizing” skills.  Basically, for respected data, we had to be good at determining the appropriate size of a fish from at least 6 feet away.  Other than the blind owl Peter, the team began to perfect the art of “sizing” underwater by using laminated fish cutouts for practice.  Next on the list…a good ole fashion lionfish search- something the team would become quite versed in over the semester.  Quietly moving through the reef, floating just inches off the coral, patience finally paid off.  We sighted 5 lionfish, large and small alike, tucked deep into the reef.  As the team pulled itself back onto the boat, everyone seemed to have experienced the oddity of being engrossed by this beautiful species, while at the same time being well aware of how destructive they are to our ecosystem here in South Eleuthera.  For now, this is Team Lionfish signing off…JP, True, Jack, Ellie, Holly and Jessica