The invasive distribution of Lionfish in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico inferred from social media and ecological niche modelling

Type: 
Master Thesis subject (30 ECTS)
programme: 
EMBC+
The proliferation of lionfish (Pterois volitans and Pterois miles) in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico over the last ten years is threatening the balance of many tropical and sub-tropical ecosystems (e.g., coral reefs, sea grasses and mangroves). While many monitoring surveys are being implemented (e.g., by NOAA Fisheries), a cross-border approach is missing in the Caribbean Sea, which may lead to underestimating the current invasive distribution of lionfish. The aim of this MSc thesis is to assess the current invaded distribution of lionfish in the Caribbean Sea and the Gulf of Mexico using social media contents and predict the potential for further spreading with ecological niche modelling. The student will analyse videos posted on social networks (e.g., youtube) and the current literature to gather occurrence records of the species. Ecological niche modelling will be used to assess the potential distribution of lionfish in the Caribbean Sea and evaluate what might prevent the further spread of this species. The student will be trained to perform video analysis, database integration in Geographic Information Systems (GIS) and ecological modelling.
prerequisites: 
Students must own a PC (regular laptop is ok).
Number of students: 
1
academic year: 
2016-2017
Contact person email: 
contact person first name: 
Jorge Assis
Other people involved: 
Ester Serrão Joana Boavida
Institutes Involved: 
Reference Number: RP-39741