Written by Ashley McDonald, Biological Scientist at UF/IFAS NCBS
What’s a Fish Slam?
NCBS staff researcher (Ashley McDonald) and master’s student (Zoey Hendrickson) were two of dozens of biologists from 12 organizations that congregated last year for two Fish Slam events near Sarasota to Cape Coral and Miami, FL. These events allow freshwater biologists to simultaneously converge on regions of Florida with electrofishing boats, minnow traps, and fishing rods for the purpose of monitoring the spread of invasive fish species, as well as registering any new occurrences.
Non-native specimens (with the exceptions of grass carp and peacock bass) were removed from the habitats, with genetics samples obtained for further population studies. Data from these (and previous) collection efforts are available in publicly available databases (
Florida Museum Specify Web Portal), with field observations recorded in the US Geological Service Nonindigenous Aquatic Species database. For more information on these invasive fish species monitoring efforts, see the US Geological Survey Wetland and Aquatic Research Center newsletter.
NCBS research scientist Ashley McDonald holds a brilliantly colored non-native koi that was collected by electrofishing in a Venice, FL residential lake.
NCBS Master’s student Zoey Hendrickson holds a clown knifefish collected by electrofishing near Cape Coral, FL.
Clown knifefish collected by electrofishing near Venice, FL.
Invasive fish collected by electrofishing in Venice to Naples, FL residential lakes. Pictured are armored catfish, walking catfish, mayan cichlids, and Nile tilapia.
A typical roundup of invasive fish species caught in a freshwater Miami, FL waterway, by electrofishing. Pictured species include armored catfish, various invasive cichlids, a rare calico patterned Asian swamp eel, spiny eel, and African jewelfish.
NCBS master’s student Zoey Hendrickson empties a minnow trap that was set in a residential canal in Miami, FL.
The impressive nuchal hump of a male Midas cichlid (a highly exaggerated trait used to attract females and as a defense during rival attacks) exemplifies the attraction of non-native fish species to aquarium hobbyists. A consequence of this adoration is the intended/unintended releases of highly resourceful non-native species to South Florida, with potentially negative consequences for native species.