Lionfish Invasion: Density-Dependent Population
Estimating lionfish population sizes
Let’s focus on the lionfish in the Bahamas, a group of islands in
the North Atlantic Ocean. Lionfish were first sighted there in 2004.
Since then, biologists and citizen scientists have been tracking
lionfish near several islands in the Bahamas. The data they’ve
collected has helped estimate the
of lionfish over time.
The number of individuals in a population
Watch the video to learn more about how to estimate population sizes
The graph below shows the estimated number of lionfish near three
island groups in the Bahamas each year from 2004 to 2014. It is
based on realistic data compiled from studies in which divers
counted lionfish. The estimates are reported as the number of
10,000 square meters (m2).
10,000 square meters (m2)
An area of 10,000 m2 is often called a hectare, and it
is about the size of two American football fields.
Interpret the graph to learn how the lionfish population changed
over time. In particular, the size of the population may have
reached a natural limit called a
The largest size of a population that the environment can support
in the long run
Drag the arrows to your estimated carrying capacity for this
population of lionfish.