Author Interview: Biology and ecology of the lionfish Pterois volitans/Pterois miles as invasive alien species

by | Jul 25, 2023 | Hubs

PeerJ spoke to Prof. Leandro Rodriguez-Viera about the recently published PeerJ Life & Environment article Biology and ecology of the lionfish Pterois volitans/Pterois miles as invasive alien species: a review. The article was published as part of the IABO Hub. The IABO Hub is the publishing home of the International Association for Biological Oceanography, and features the latest biological oceanography research published by the members of IABO.

Can you tell us a bit about yourself?

I am a marine biologist. I was a professor at the Marine Research Center of the University of Havana for 15 years and currently work at the University of Cádiz, Spain. Over fifteen years, I led diverse line research in topics within marine biology, such as the trophic ecology of lionfish, the digestive physiology of crustaceans and fish, or the biodiversity of marine organisms, among others.

Can you briefly explain the research you published in PeerJ?

Our paper just published in PeerJ, entitled ¨ Biology and ecology of the lionfish Pterois volitans / Pterois miles as invasive alien species” is a literature review where we provide a current view of the well-known lionfish as a successful invasive alien species (IAS), and we put in this context the information regarding lionfish in Cuban waters, enriching the background knowledge, and giving novel and relevant information.

The rapid lionfish spread and its potential impact on the invaded ecosystems have made it necessary to carry out new studies that expand the current knowledge about this fish. Valuable reviews have been made that address several topics such as invasion, impacts, control, reproduction, etc). However, in these reviews information about lionfish in Cuba is absent or very scarce, despite the relevance of studying lionfish in this country, and the existence of numerous Cuban researchers related to the subject. Knowledge of lionfish in Cuba is essential for the comprehensive management of these IAS in the Western Atlantic and the Caribbean Sea, since its geographical location makes it a key country within the invaded area.

This review analyzes the most relevant characteristics of the biology and ecology of lionfish as IAS, with an emphasis on Cuba. It provides, for the first time, a comprehensive analysis of lionfish information and results from Cuba, which is adequately contrasted with previous studies of other invaded areas, particularly, from the Greater Caribbean. This knowledge will allow the development of more effective control strategies and the way forward to understand this invasive species and its impact on ecosystems.

How did you first hear about PeerJ, and what persuaded you to submit to us?

I heard about PeerJ a couple of years ago while going through some articles. I submitted one of my doctoral thesis articles some years ago, and was very pleased with the seriousness and rigour of the entire editorial process, from peer review to every detail of the publication’s edition. Last year we re-published with PeerJ a paper on the trophic ecology of lionfish in an MPA (10:e14250 DOI 10.7717/peerj.14250). One more time the editing, revision and publication work was unbeatable, with also very good visibility.

How was your experience publishing an article in the IABO hub? 

It was an excellent experience. In fact, the IABO hub is a great initiative to promote open and inclusive science, providing good opportunities to publish and have everyone able to view our research. We need more initiatives like this in science!!!!


PeerJ Hubs are a new concept providing a sustainable Open Access solution for societies and research associations, with meaningful benefits for members. Whether your organization wants to launch its first publication, or is seeking a fully OA, funder-compliant option to complement your existing journals, a Hub could grow and develop your community, and make Open Access a more attainable and equitable option for your members.

Best of all, Hubs are free for organizations to launch!

If you are interested in discussing a Hub for your society or research association, please email and we can send you further information.


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