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Cape Eleuthera Institute

It is official, Gobies clean brood stock cobia!

What an exciting Monday morning for aquaculture! We now have 3 goby breeding pairs that have all laid eggs this week. Our most recent pair needed to be separated from the two other resident gobies, so we decided to experiment. It has been relayed by word of mouth that gobies will clean parasites off the cobia. Nothing is ever that easy at CEI, so we needed to see it to believe it.

Nine thirty this morning, Marie and I decided to take the leap of faith and place the 2 gobies into the brood stock cobia tank. No one knew what to expect. Would the gobies like their new home? Would the cobia know to stay still so the gobies could clean them? How long would it take until we would observe the gobies actually cleaning the cobia?

Gobies are known for mysteriously disappearing from tanks, so we placed mesh goby exclusion devices on the outflow pipes to hopefully prevent escapements. We also placed a lovely pvc pipe condo into the tank for the gobies to make into their home sweet home, but they chose the resident current- air stone pvc pipe instead. Within forty-five minutes both gobies were observed cleaning the cobia on their gills, pectoral fins and face. All 3 cobia were lined up close to each other lying on the bottom of the tank. It was the funniest, cutest, and most intriguing behavior to witness.  You could sense how valuable and natural the relationship was for both fish species. I have previously seen the cobia lie on the bottom of the tank being lazy, but not lined up and so close to one another. What an exciting, successful (so far) experimental endeavor for the aquaculture team. Now all we have to do is get rotifers, keep them alive, and raise the goby hatchlings past 4 days! Easier said then done. Wish us luck!

Dan Rather Reports from the Cape

Dan Rather along with a film crew and a team of producers visited Cape Eleuthera last week to film a piece about lionfish. The piece is for his show on HDNet, Dan Rather Reports. He visited the Cape to see first-hand both the extent of and learn the effects of the lionfish invasion and what is being done in response. Rather's visit coincided with researchers Lad Akins and Stephanie Green's being on campus to conduct their ongoing lionfish research at the Cape Eleuthera Institute.

The film crew spent an entire day on boats visiting reefs and filming with Akins and Green, as well as with CEI's own lionfish researchers Annabelle Oronti and Skylar Miller. The piece, which will air in the next couple of weeks on HDNet, will feature interviews and footage from in the field. Last month, the New York Times featured a piece on the lionfish invasion in Atlantic and Caribbean waters, and Rather's visit to report on them underscores the importance of the issue and the work being done at CEI to understand and deal with the problem.

Congratulations…it’s a cobia!

by: Team Acult Research- Augie Cummings and Lea Luniewicz


Although we were down 3 scientist, Lea and Augie continued the research on the almighty sharknose goby. Earlier in the week we were on track to dive the cage, but despite Tyler's heroic effort to save the day, we were without a boat. We recently received a small batch of 400,000  cobia eggs and spent all of Friday's class separating out 8,500 cobia into a different tank.

The gobies are living it up in the pairing tank while some of those sly sharknoses have found their mates, and have moved on to better, more private real estate. They all seem to be getting to know each other better and some on more levels than others. All the color of the gobies have seemingly returned so physically they are looking pretty too. We believe that the guys indoors have been doing better because of the much more pleasurable environment. Until next time, stay classy South Eleuthera!

Lecture on Lionfish with Lad and Stephanie

Last night our community had the opportunity to attend a lionfish presentation from REEF's (Reef Environmental Education Foundation) Director of Operations Lad Akins and lionfish researcher from Simon Fraser University, Stephanie Green. Their presentation gave students, interns, and staff an update on the lionfish invasion in the Caribbean. Atkins presented research on the breadth of the invasion as well as reasons why lionfish have gained such a strong foothold outside their native Indo-Pacific range. Green then spoke to students about the implications of the invasion on native fisheries in the Caribbean, as well as what is being done to curb the advance.

In addition to lionfish education and training people in the invaded areas, REEF has planned events such as lionfish derbys and plans to release a cookbook on lionfish preparation as ways to raise awareness about what can be done to mitigate the effects of the invasion. A derby is planned on the Cape for February to coincide with the 10th anniversary of the Deep Creek Middle School.

Lad Atkins is widely recognized as the leading researcher and expert on the lionfish issue, and Stephanie Green has conducted extensive research in the field. Lad and Stephanie have been conducting research at the Cape Eleuthera Institute for a couple of years and will return again to collect more data in December and attend the student Research Symposium (12/4/10).

Click here to see a video on how to clean a lionfish for eating.