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Reef Environmental Education Foundation (REEF) and Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary hosted two lionfish workshops for the general public in August 2013.

A group of ten people gathered around a small aquarium and posing like lionfish.
After the workshop, staff and presenters posed with our lionfish Woodstock and did their best lionfish imitations.

The first workshop was held August 1, 2013 at the Houston Zoo in conjunction with their Education and Conservation departments. The second workshop was held August 4, 2013 at sanctuary headquarters in Galveston.

Workshop topics included background of the invasion, lionfish biology, ecological impacts, current research findings, collecting tools and techniques, market development and ways to get involved.

In addition,sanctuary staff were available to answer questions, perform dissections on captured lionfish, and demonstrate lionfish feeding behaviors.

The lionfish crisis is an ever increasing problem throughout the Atlantic, Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. These invasive species, known for their voracious appetites, venomous spines and rapid reproduction, are depleting native fish and invertebrate populations at alarming rates. Marine scientists are concerned that lionfish will significantly harm ocean ecosystems.

You can help control lionfish by reporting sightings and removing them whenever you see one.

Click on a picture below to see a larger, hi-resolution image
Photo credits: FGBNMS

August 4, 2013 - Galveston Workshop

Large group seated for a presentation on a screen at the front of the room while speaker stands at dais to the left.
A crowd of about 70 people attended the Galveston workshop to hear REEF experts talk about lionfish impacts in the Gulf of Mexico and Caribbean.
Crowd gathered around a small fish tank to watch a lionfish feed.
Michelle Johnston demonstrated how prey are unaware of the threat that lionfish pose to them by giving our resident lionfish some live bait.
Dead lionfish in a gallon ziploc bag sitting in a metal tray.
Lionfish removed from the sanctuary are frozen to preserve them for future examination. This one was thawed out just before the workshop.

Large group seated for a presentation in front of a large screen with a speaker standing to the left.
After the REEF presentation, Michelle Johnston spoke about the specific impacts of lionfish in the sanctuary.

Three people working on a lionfish dissection at a table while two others watch.
Marissa Nuttall and two TAMUG students perform a lionfish dissection so workshop guests can see how we collect samples for DNA analysis and identify what the fish have been eating.
Dr. Sammy Ray seated at the workshop
Dr. Sammy Ray, retired TAMUG professor and Galveston icon, chats with another participant at the back of the workshop.

weather report observations cool stuff get wet

Juvenile blue tang (fish).  Bright yellow body with irridescent blue marking around eye and at top edge of dorsal fin.
National Marine Sanctuary logo - a stylized whale tail above waves