SPC student heads up Lionfish Safari

lionfish

By Dr. Heyward Matthews and Dr. Monica Lara

On September 12 and 13, Reef Monitoring Inc. will sponsor a Lionfish Safari to help control the spread of the invasive Lionfish that is threatening our local reef fish. The event is under the direction of  Cory Trier, a marine sciences student at St. Petersburg College’s Clearwater Campus.

Learn more about St. Petersburg College’s Natural Science offerings and how SPC science students are engaging in real-world research projects that make a difference.

Trier is the only student on the Board of Directors of Reef Monitoring, a non-profit corporation formed in 2010 by a group of faculty on the Clearwater Campus, to monitor the fish and invertebrate populations on our local natural and artificial reefs.

While the first objective of this group was to train local sport divers to collect base line data on local reefs, several years ago the underwater surveys indicated an increase in the numbers of this invasive fish species that poses a serious threat to local reefs communities.

Trier has spent many hours working with the people at the Guy Harvey Outpost and the Trade Winds Resort to promote this event and also obtaining sponsors from local business and dive organizations and is a certified SEI Dive Master.

He assist SPC Professor Heyward Mathews with the college open water and advanced open water classes at the Clearwater Campus. Trier and several other SPC students collected data on Lionfish from the Aug. 15 St. Petersburg Open Spearfishing Contest. More than 350 Lionfish were removed from local reefs during this event. The previous Reef Monitoring Lionfish Safari back in September of 2014 collected more than 460 invasive Lionfish from local waters.

Trier plans on continuing in the new field of Lionfish research in graduate school next year.

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