Halmos Faculty Featured in New York Times Lionfish Article

Matthew Johnston, Ph.D.

On February 4, the New York Times published the article, “Open Sores, Lower Numbers Likely Not Invasive Lionfish’s End”. The article discusses a new disease which has caused open sores that can eat into the muscles of the invasive lionfish. While the disease contributed to an abrupt drop in the northern Gulf of Mexico populations, researchers quickly state that this is not the end of these showy invaders.

Halmos College biology faculty member Matthew Johnston, Ph.D. contributed to this article. Johnston, who has written scientific papers about the lionfish commented, ““We’ve always been wondering if they’re ever going to reach their limit in certain locations,” he said. “To date it seemed the populations just kept getting larger and larger and larger.”

Genetic studies have shown the invaders are descended from lionfish that were first sighted off Florida in 1985; aquarium hobbyists may well have started the invasion by dumping fish into the ocean, according to NOAA.