Sixth grade science project surprises conservationists


Lionfish have become an invasive challenge along the southern Atlantic coast of the United States. Lauren Arrington's science fair project demonstrated that invasive lionfish can survive in water far less saline than previously thought.

From Uncover California:

When Lauren started to study the lionfish for her sixth grade science fair, she did not know that her discovery would one day overwhelm conservationists. She started to study the creature with the help of her father, who has a Ph.D. in fish ecology. She initially thought that lionfish would not be able to survive in water with salinity less than 12 parts per 1,000. This level of salinity is one-third of the ocean salinity.

Lauren reduced the salinity beyond that and reached to six parts per 1,000. She was surprised to find that the fish was doing really well. However, Lauren decided not to further reduce the salinity, fearing that might kill the fish. North Carolina State University ecology professor Craig Layman tried to make use of findings available from the study of Lauren. He built upon her findings and found that the invasive lionfish is well capable of surviving in nearly fresh water.

**UPDATE: Researcher Zack Judd claims the research does not belong to the young girl and he has been taken advantage of. (Via io9)