Invasive marine species in the diets of coastal fish.

Steve O'Shea

TONMO Supporter
Staff member
Nov 19, 2002
In another (Supporter) thread we were discussing the role of invasive species in marine systems. As this discussion is rather important I thought that we should include it here in 'Marine Conservation', even though it is not directly related to cephalopods.

We have been investigating the role of invasive species in the diets of coastal fish species throughout Hauraki Gulf, Auckland, New Zealand. The attached poster was put together by three of the undergraduates; unfortunately the lovely background formatting has been lost in the process of my reducing it down to a file size that can be read (and added) online. Warning, the file is large (the poster was A0), but the file needed to be large in order for folk to read the small print. This is one of 15 posters that we presented at this year's New Zealand Marine Sciences Society Conference in late August '07.

I'd just like it known that invasive species are not necessarily 'bad species'. There appear to be several instances where invasives are important (numerically) in the diets of fish (yellow in pie graphs), and possibly act as trophic surrogates for these fish in otherwise extensively modified marine habitat (anthropogenic disturbance) [where no natives exist any longer, and prey might otherwise be limited].

For anyone looking at an interesting Masters topic, this is a great one, regardless of where you are. I'd be interested in hearing from others who have or intend to do similar research.

Keep in mind that this is a combined undergraduate project (3rd year), so numbers of fish examined are (at times) low. Having said this, all three students (Clara, Shabana and Theresa) are immensely capable, and all will go on to do superb Masters theses/research. I wish the full poster formatting was apparent in the attached file; you'll have to blow it up on screen to view the print and graphs.


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Science is most infinitely sexy Mark, Tony.

I'll find a way to get the other 14 posters online (I tried several others, but their size was such that the system crashed); perhaps a single thread in the 'Marine Conservation' forum would be appropriate. Everything we do is geared towards conservation.
The posters may have started your hair greying but there is a lot of info there! Please do get the others on-line and keep the thread going with whatever you can/will feed us.

That's an interesting poster.
Just a random question -given that snapper and few other species are opportunistic predators who would remain unaffected by the displacement of native prey by invasive species, what happens to other predatory fish that are selective in what they eat?
Would we see a decline in those fish populations because their prey have been displaced or would they have to change their diet and adapt themselves to feeding on invasive species?
one of the biggest problems the south east coast of the usa and the bahamas is facing are the lion fish... supposedly a breeding facility somewhere in the caribbean was destroyed during some hurricanes a few years back and now they are taking over reefs as far north as south carolina. ive personally seen them all over the abacos in the bahamas and have seen a significant decrease in the number of smaller fish on the reefs down there and supposedly its the same off of south carolina. we also have had the peppermint shrimp show up around here (south carolina) also... theyve been showing up in massive colonies along the beaches. these are not so much a problem as the lion fish are though since they are more of a food source for the local fish than anything else

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