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Rotenone: an essential but demonized tool for assessing marine fish diversity

March 17, 2008

Rotenone: an essential but demonized tool for assessing marine fish diversity

Rotenone, a natural substance traditionally used by subsistence fishers, is a uniquely efficient tool for sampling reef and other shore fishes for marine research

“Coral reefs, one of the most biologically diverse and important ecosystems on Earth, are experiencing unprecedented and increasing ecological decline, yet the fish faunas of such reefs and other tropical shoreline habitats remain poorly known in many areas. Rotenone, a natural substance traditionally used by subsistence fishers, is a uniquely efficient tool for sampling reef and other shore fishes for marine research. Unfortunately, such sampling is perceived as being highly destructive, and increasing prohibitions against using rotenone in many countries will soon cripple essential research on reef-fish biodiversity worldwide.”

In an article authored by STRI marine biologist D. Ross Robertson and William F. Smith-Vaniz, associated with the Florida Museum of Natural History at the University of Florida in Gainesville, they dispel common misconceptions about the environmental effects of small-scalerotenone sampling in marine research.

The article “Rotenone: an essential but demonized tool for assessing marine fish diversity,” was published this year in the February issue of BioScience 58(2): 165-170.

The article can be downloaded from
http://www.si.edu/marinescience/rotenone.htm
Or obtained from: calderom@si.edu





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