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Sixth-grader Lauren Arrington wowed ecologists with her science fair project and findings, discovering something about lionfish they’d never realized.
Florida sixth-grader Lauren Arrington wowed ecologists with her science fair project and findings, discovering something about lionfish they’d never realized.
Unfortunately, what she uncovered is that the invasive species living in parts of the Atlantic Ocean is capable of living in far less salty environments than previously believed.
That introduces possibilities for their spreading to river systems and posing a threat to those ecosystems.
Before this, the fish had only been studied in waters with a higher salt content, and it was believed that couldn’t survive in water with a salinity level below 20 parts per thousand.
Lauren placed her six specimens in different tanks including one control fish, and lowered the salinity levels over 8 days.
By the end the water in the tanks had been diminished to a salinity level of 6 parts per thousand, well below the accepted life-sustaining minimum for lionfish.
Yet, they all continued to thrive.
Her results caught the attention of a scholar from North Carolina State University who expanded upon the science fair findings.
He confirmed her findings and concluded that due to the fish’s ability to sustain life in much fresher water, it was quite capable of inhabiting rivers and making its way upstream.