Indo-Pacific Red Lionfish
Indo-pacific red lionfish (Pterois volitans) has invaded at an exponential rate along the Atlantic Seaboard, east to Bermuda, and throughout the Caribbean and Gulf of Mexico. We built a ddRADseq library, generation 50,000+ SNPs, from samples throughout the introduced range and some samples from the native range. We found evidence of source region for the introduced population near Taiwan and evidence of directional selection between the source and introduced regions. We are working on a grant on the population genomic analysis of the red lionfish addressing the critical conservation and evolutionary questions related to this invasive species including potential for hybridization in the native range, and directional selection between the core and peripheral populations in the introduced range. We want to first assess the phylogeographic pattern of the red lionfish in its native range, and then address questions of adaptation and directional selection in the established and spreading parts of the introduced range. A fundamental question is how species rapidly adapt to new abiotic and biotic conditions during an introduction. Of particular interest here is understanding the leading edge of spread to the north and south of the core of the introduction. To understand more about our previous work on the red lionfish, check out our recent paper on the lionfish (publication link here and correction).
Figure depicts the critical phases of the red lionfish invasion.