Contact: Glenda Powell

NOAA News Releases 2004
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A new educational case study on the lionfish—a venomous invasive species from the Indian and western Pacific Oceans that is found off the coast of the mid-Atlantic—is now available from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration’s National Ocean Service. NOAA is an agency of the U.S. Department of Commerce.

The new product, called a Discovery Story, is available online at: It includes detailed educational information on the biology of the lionfish, its invasion of U.S. coastal waters, the role of the aquarium trade in the invasion, and whether the invasion can be curbed. Also available are a student and teacher guide, an interactive quiz, and an interview with Paula Whitfield of NOAA’s Center for Coastal Fisheries and Habitat Research. Whitfield has conducted extensive research on the lionfish and is co-author of a recent NOAA lionfish assessment.

“One of NOAA’s priorities is to enhance the public’s understanding of environmental processes, including the effect of invasive species on our ecosystems,” said retired Navy Vice Admiral Conrad Lautenbacher, PhD., under secretary of commerce for oceans and atmosphere and NOAA administrator.

This Discovery Story on lionfish is the first of several educational case studies NOAA is producing to improve the understanding of ocean science and the changing Earth.

The new Discovery Story is one of three sections of the NOS Discovery Center, a comprehensive educational offering on the NOS Web site. In addition to the Discovery Story, the NOS Discovery Center includes a new Discovery Classroom and a collection of Discovery Kits as well.

The Discovery Classroom is a collection of 15 inquiry-based, formal lesson plans based on NOAA science and developed for use at the high school level. The lesson plans can be easily adapted for use by middle school and undergraduate students as well. All of the lessons emphasize hands-on activities using online data resources, and all are correlated with National Science Education Standards and the Benchmarks for Science Literacy, which were developed by the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

Discovery Kits contain interactive tutorials on science subjects, roadmaps to Web-based data resources and formal lesson plans. The tutorials, roadmaps, and lesson plans in each Discovery Kit are designed to work together, but are comprehensive enough to be used on their own. The National Science Teachers Association, which undertook a formal review of the kits, called them “excellent models that are well designed, easy to navigate, and have beautiful photographs and diagrams, which complement the content.” Currently three Discovery Kits are available, covering coral reefs, tides and water levels, and geodesy.

The National Ocean Service balances environmental protection with economic prosperity in fulfilling its mission of promoting safe navigation, supporting coastal communities, sustaining coastal habitats and mitigating coastal hazards.

NOAA is dedicated to enhancing economic security and national safety through the prediction and research of weather and climate-related events and providing environmental stewardship of our nation’s coastal and marine resources.

On the Web:


NOAA National Ocean Service:

National Ocean Service Education Discovery Center:

Lionfish Assessment Report: