Galveston College students from the Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) Discovery Seminar had the opportunity to learn about the invasive lionfish during a fall semester dissection project.


The STEM students dissected lionfish which were removed during the Flower Garden Banks National Marine Sanctuary (FGBNMS) Lionfish Invitational, a scientific effort to document the invasive lionfish situation in the sanctuary and remove as many as possible.


Lionfish, an invasive and venomous species native to the Indo-Pacific and Red Sea, are the first invasive species of fish to establish themselves in the Western Atlantic, according to the FGBNMS website. Lionfish can cause significant impacts to local fish populations, and have been documented to eat over 100 species of fish and invertebrates, including commercially important species such as snapper and grouper.


The FGBNMS is one of 15 national marine sanctuaries and two marine national monuments protected by NOAA’s Office of National Marine Sanctuaries, and the only site located in the Gulf of Mexico, 80-125 miles off the coasts of Texas and Louisiana, according to their website.


The removed lionfish are examined, including those dissected by GC’s students, for growth data and stomach contents to see which kind and how many native fish species lionfish are eating.


For more information about Science, Technology, Engineering and Math programs at Galveston College, visit  or call 409-944-4242.



Galveston College was founded in 1967 and is a comprehensive community college providing the residents of Galveston Island and the surrounding region with academic, workforce development, continuing education and community service programs.