Our Marine Exotic Species Removal program partners with local divers and the U.S. Geological Survey to respond to reports of non-native organisms in the state of Florida. Both exotic and invasive species are organisms considered to be non-native in an ecosystem. Invasive species are ones that are established and have a harmful impact on the ecosystem, economy or human health. In the case of marine fish and invertebrates, exotic species are often not established or breeding when they are first reported. So, although they have the potential to have a negative impact, they have not done so yet.
Most of these marine animals are released from home aquariums by owners that likely think they are doing the right thing, but don’t understand the dangers non-native species can pose. Once a non-native or exotic species is reported, Frost Science staff immediately intervenes to remove the organism. If possible, these species are then exhibited at the museum’s aquarium. This program helps educate our guests of the dangers of exotic species, how to prevent their release and avoid the next marine invasive epidemic like the lionfish.
Some recent successful removals include: Picasso triggerfish, purple tang, yellow tang, naso tang and orbicular batfish. These removals have been on sites ranging from Palm Beach to Key Largo.