The invasive lionfish, with its menacing expression and venom-filled spines, is easily one of the most intimidating marine creatures we know of. This fish’s inhabitance of warm, shallow waters as are found within and around coral reefs, where scuba divers and tourists tend to congregate, makes it even more of a threat to humans and increases the chance of someone inadvertently coming into contact with a lionfish’s venomous spines.

Lionfish being held to avoid spines.

Not only are lionfish dangerous to us, they also pose a large threat to ecosystems throughout the Western hemisphere. First spotted off the coast of Florida in 1985, two species of…

“Whenever civilization seems stifling, weeds begin to look pretty good,” Michael Pollan observes in his astute and insightful article, “Weeds Are Us.”

Crowded street in New York City.

This observation is embodied by the human response to the rapid growth of cities and the decreasing access to natural settings throughout the 1800s, which prompted writers like Ralph Waldo Emerson and Henry David Thoreau to detail their appreciation for the wilderness and their thoughts about how humans were impacting it through their writings. Not surprisingly, these effects were mostly negative, according to these authors. …

Two species of lionfish, Pterois volitans and Pterois miles, both native to the South Pacific and Indian Ocean, are currently invading marine ecosystems across the Eastern seaboard of the United States, the Gulf Coast, and the Caribbean. These flashy, sinister-looking fish have been present outside their native habitats since about 1985 and have been spreading and causing massive ecological and economic damage ever since.

Madison Rudel

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