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Behavior Study

Posted by: | August 17, 2009 | 5 Comments |

September 5, 2009

Looks like there won’t be enough time to replicate all of my observations. With only five days left on island our main focus is to tie up any loose ends to other experiments. 

The past few days I have been going through all my data, which supports that lionfish are crepuscular.  This means that an animal is primarily active during dawn and dusk. It looks like my data will produce a nice curve that shows lionfish activity throughout the day.  However there is a large gap in my data from late evening until early morning.  This was because we could not take boats out at night to do my observations.  I went on a snorkel just off the dock last night to see if I could get an idea of lionfish activity.  I found most lionfish were out in the open; some swimming about while others just rested on coral and rock, but none were hunting.  This data is not conclusive as I have not done enough night observations, but it would make sense that lionfish do not hunt at night because they are such visual hunters.

  September 1, 2009

Finished my last observation today.  Depending on how much time we have left here, I might try to replicate them all. It will also depend on if tropical storm Erica decides to head our way.

August 29, 2009

Only a day’s worth of observations left!  

 August 23, 2009

The behavioral study is going very smoothly and data is rolling in!  I have made a goal to visit three specific sites, each at first light, late morning, afternoon, and dusk.  My three sites double as sites Mark Albins has been using for his lionfish density experiments. Should my data show any interesting trends, for example that lionfish are eating a specific species more frequently than others, it may be used to support any similar findings in Mark Albins’ research.   

August 17, 2009

For the past week I have been starting the second part of my project: the behavior study.  This study requires almost no supplies; just a slate, pencil, and a lot of time.  The procedure is very straight forward.  I observe all the lionfish on a reef for 10 minutes each, taking notes on everything it does… and I mean EVERYTHING.  Sometimes it’s very interesting to watch, for example counting how many fish a lionfish can eat before actually exploding.  Other times it can be very dull, such that the most exciting thing noted during the entire ten minutes was that a lionfish moved from one part of the rock to another. 

So far, the most interesting observation has been the drastic increase in activity towards the end of the day, usually around 5 o’clock.  Lionfish come pouring out of their holes in a huge wave almost, all with their pectoral fins flared ready to eat the next unsuspecting fish.  My goal is to observe lionfish during all times of the day, from first light until dusk.  The hope is that I will see a trend in activity levels as the day progresses.

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5 Comments

  1. By: Sphynx Cat on August 18, 2009 at 2:06 am      

    5pm hey? That’s the same time my cats get all frisky and meowy for their dinner too.

    Have you got any video of your subjects, or does that cause an issue with your studies?

  2. By: pickerie on August 23, 2009 at 3:35 am      

    I do have video footage of lionfish, both hunting and resting. I’ve found that juggling a camera and slate while writing down everything a lionfish does can be challenging. Instead we have been setting out cameras in the evening and picking them up in the morning. I will try to post a video on the page soon.

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