An Appetite for Invasion: invasive lionfish have lower costs of digestion at high temperatures and a feeding physiology that may drive their impact

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Steell, Shane




Species invasions threaten global biodiversity, but the physiological underpinnings of invasive characteristics are poorly understood. Specific Dynamic Action (SDA), the increase in metabolic rate associated with feeding and digestion, is a physiological process that strongly influences an animal's feeding ecology in concert with aerobic scope, or the range between its minimum and maximum physiologically possible metabolic rates. Both of these characteristics are temperature-dependent and may represent ecologically relevant responses to temperature changes. I investigated the relationship between SDA, aerobic scope, and temperature in lionfish (Pterois spp.), an invasive species of major concern to western Atlantic marine ecosystems. I collected lionfish from reefs in The Bahamas and used intermittent-flow respirometry to calculate their SDA and aerobic scope at two ecologically relevant temperatures (26° and 32° C). My results suggest that lionfish possess physiological traits that facilitate their invasiveness, and that they may benefit from warming ocean temperatures from climate change.


Animal Physiology
Fisheries and Aquaculture




Carleton University

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