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Mon Jul 1, 2013, 09:54 AM

The Worst Marine Invasion Ever

By Christie Wilcox

"Do you know what this is?" James Morris looks at me, eyes twinkling, as he points to the guts of a dissected lionfish in his lab at the National Ocean Serviceís Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research in Beaufort, N.C. I see some white chunky stuff. As a Ph.D. candidate at the Hawaii Institute of Marine Biology, I should know basic fish biology literally inside and out. When I cut open a fish, I can tell you which gross-smelling gooey thing is the liver, which is the stomach, etc.

He's testing me, I think to myself. Morris is National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration's pre-eminent scientist studying the invasion of lionfish into U.S. coastal waters. Heís the lionfish guy, and we met in person for the first time just a few days earlier. We're processing lionfish speared by local divers, taking basic measurements, and removing their stomachs for ongoing diet analyses. Not wanting to look bad, I rack my brain for an answer to his question. It's not gonads. Not spleen. Iím frustrated with myself, but I simply can't place the junk; I've never seen it before. Finally, I give up and admit that I'm completely clueless.

"It's interstitial fat."

"Fat?"

"Fat," he says firmly. I look again. The white waxy substance hangs in globs from the stomach and intestines. It clings to most of the internal organs. Heck, there's got to be at least as much fat as anything else in this lionfish's gut. That's when I realize why he's pointing this out.

"Wait ... these lionfish are overweight?" I ask, incredulous.

"No, not overweight," he says. "Obese." The fish we're examining is so obese, he notes, that there are even signs of liver damage.

Obese. As if the lionfish problem in North Carolina wasn't bad enough.

more

http://www.slate.com/articles/health_and_science/science/2013/07/lionfish_invasion_the_invasive_fish_are_eating_so_many_native_species_that.html

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n2doc Jul 2013 OP
hootinholler Jul 2013 #1

Response to n2doc (Original post)

Mon Jul 1, 2013, 11:20 AM

1. And I was thinking Bay of Pigs n/t

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