Divers Help Quell the Roar of Invasive Lionfish

It seems strange to mark the location of a fish, doesn’t it? They can swim and move away from the marker, right? I wonder while standing on a dock waiting for the boat that will take about ten of us out to a reef. There, we will scuba dive for fun and also mark the locations of lionfish, an invasive species in the Caribbean. Volunteer divers on the Dutch island of Bonaire are helping Bonaire National Marine Park eliminate invasive lionfish from its coral reefs by marking the locations where the fish are found. A diver who spots a lionfish is instructed to attach a small flag, provided by the park, to a rock near the fish. The answers to my questions about marking fish locations become clear once I splash into the water and see the fish and flag markers for myself. Swimming along sections of reef, I saw dozens of flags that had been placed there by divers and each had one or more lionfish hovering nearby. It turns out that lionfish don’t stray far from their particular nook of reef. They stay near the markers. It’s illegal to hunt or in any way harm marine life in the waters surrounding Bonaire. Except, that is, for lionfish. They are beautiful fish, placidly fluttering their glitzy ruffle of fins, and hovering next to their flags. Yet, a voracious appetite for reef fish combined with a high rate of reproduction and no known predators in the Caribbean make lionfish a threat to biodiversity. Native to the Pacific, the lionfish is an invasive species in the Caribbean. … Read more

Categories: Animals, Biology, Citizen Science, Ecology & Environment, Ocean & Water

Conversations about conservation: public participation in scientific research

Energy is a strange thing.  It floats around you, fills you up until you’re about ready to burst, and then it skips off, leaving you to keep up as best you can.  Last Thursday and Friday were two full days of such energy, when 60 professionals from such exotic places as Alaska, Colombia and New … Read more “Conversations about conservation: public participation in scientific research”

Categories: Biology, Birds, Citizen Science, Climate & Weather, Ecology & Environment, In the News, Nature & Outdoors, Ocean & Water, Science Education Standards, Science Policy

How to contribute to science by blowing bubbles

Did you know that you can contribute to science by blowing bubbles? It’s true! The Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) network is asking citizen scientists in England to use bubbles to calculate wind direction and speed. All you need to do is create a “bubble cone” using a piece of paper and some tape. Then, with some … Read more “How to contribute to science by blowing bubbles”

Categories: Animals, Biology, Birds, Chemistry, Geology & Earth Sciences, Nature & Outdoors, Ocean & Water

How citizen science will save the planet

Ponder for a moment this quote written by Aldo Leopold in the late 1940s: “We can be ethical only in relation to something we can see, feel, understand, or otherwise have faith in.” Food for thought, especially if you are a citizen scientist like I am. And even more so if you are a citizen … Read more “How citizen science will save the planet”

Categories: Biology, Citizen Science, Climate & Weather, Ecology & Environment, Nature & Outdoors, Science Education Standards, Science Policy