Why Lionfish Are Targeted Underwater And Online

Sep 2, 2014
NOAA's National Ocean Service/Flickr

If they weren't such a pest you could almost pity the lionfish.

The creature, after all, is simply doing what it is biologically programmed to do: eat and reproduce. Unfortunately, it has made its way to the reefs off South Florida where it doesn't have natural predators.

So the lovely lionfish has become a menace.

They eat juvenile saltwater species that are commercially and biologically important, like lobster, crab, snapper and grouper. And they eat herbivores like wrasse that help limit algae growth on reefs.

The tiny, copper-hued golden lion tamarin is so beloved in Brazil that its image graces the country's 20-real bank note. But this lion-maned monkey is in peril.

There's only one place on earth where the golden lion tamarin lives in the wild: in Brazil's Atlantic Forest, or Mata Atlantica, just north of Rio de Janeiro. Deforestation in the region has reduced the monkey's habitat, once a massive ecosystem stretching for a half-million square miles, to just 2 percent of its original size.

"It's a jungle if you're an eagle right now on the Chesapeake Bay," says Bryan Watts, a conservation biologist at the College of William and Mary in Williamsburg, Va. "You have to watch your back."

Americans have long imagined their national symbol as a solitary, noble bird soaring on majestic wings. The birds are indeed gorgeous and still soar, but the notion that they are loners is outdated, Watts and other conservationists are finding.

Patdaversa / Flickr Creative Commons

The roseate spoonbill -- often mistaken by confused tourists for the non-native flamingo -- is one of Florida's great iconic species. Dubbed "one of the most breathtaking of the world's weirdest birds" by naturalist Roger Tory Peterson, the gangly creatures are an increasingly rare sight in South Florida. 

According to a feature in the May-June issue of Audubon Magazine, spoonbills have been vacating South Florida in droves, heading north to more hospitable (read: often less developed) lands.

Enjoy Florida's Wetlands Before They Disappear

May 9, 2013
Tricia Woolfenden / WLRN

The recently-wrapped 2013 Florida Legislative session was an active one for those who track environmental issues in the Sunshine State.

Read About New Boating Guidelines For The Everglades

May 8, 2013
Tricia Woolfenden / WLRN

Proposed changes at Everglades National Park have put anglers at odds with environmental groups. The park's draft general management plan, which includes several variations (or "alternatives"), is currently up for public comment. This Sunday is the deadline to weigh in on proposed measures, which include prohibiting traditional boating in about one-third of Florida Bay. 

Saving Florida Wildlife

Apr 8, 2013

Here's What It Feels Like To Pet A Live Shark

Mar 26, 2013
Megan Jacobson /

When we caught the first shark of the day, I'd already spent a good hour or so turning Neil Hammerschlag's words over in my head, like a gambler might fidget with a lucky coin in his pocket: 

"We might not see any sharks today."