Reef Insights Via Fin Clip Analysis

October 15, 2019
CCMI researchers completed observational studies tracking herbivore movement and spatial extent of their impact on the reef during the summer. They also gathered fin clips of  lionfish and Bermuda chub, which Dr Dell is currently processing at the University of California Santa Barbara.
Lionfish are generalist carnivores so it is possible that their diet reflects the availability of food items on the reefs where they live. We are evaluating whether their fin clips can be used to indicate the complexity of the food web on those reefs (and also the overall health of the system). This project is supported by the Paul M. Angell Family Foundation. The Bermuda chub fin clips will be used to determine their species since we currently don’t know which of the four Caribbean species are present in the Cayman Islands. This is part of the project funded by the Darwin Initiative, UK.
Our researchers and education team have also been collaborating to develop an education module based upon the Darwin Initiative-funded herbivorous fish study. This will be made freely available on the CCMI website.