Lionfish Research

The FAB lab has been working on understanding the biomechanics, physiology, and morphology of the lionfish for the last three years. The red lionfish is invasive to the Western Atlantic, Caribbean Sea, and Gulf of Mexico. Students in the lab are working to understand how these successful predators work.

Kate Galloway ( is a PhD candidate investigating the mechanical properties of lionfish spines. She is also working to understand the ability of spines to puncture occasional predators such as sharks and groupers which may predate on lionfish. Finally, her research examines to contribution of the spines during overall locomotion. Her goal is to better understand how the body plan and anatomy of lionfish has contributed to their success of being one of the most invasive marine species to date.
Check out Kate’s paper on lionfish spine bending mechanics and the cover art (Photo credit: Lureen Ferretti
Delaney Frazier is an undergraduate in the lab looking at the morphology of the sharp, bony projections that lionfish have covering their face.
Noa Abiri is an undergraduate in the lab using 3D models to answer questions about the properties of lionfish spines, in relation to orientation. Check out her published abstract from the 2019 Society of Integrative and Comparative Biology meeting.
Andie Hernandez (
General information: There is no significant natural control of lionfish, but local and state organizations have been keeping lionfish in check through lionfish derbies across Florida. You can also support the removal of lionfish and local spear fishermen by purchasing and eating lionfish at locations such as Whole Foods.
Additional information can be found here: