Are increased nutrient inputs responsible for more outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish? an appraisal of the evidence

Brodie, Jon, Fabricius, Katharina, De'ath, Glenn, and Okaji, Ken (2005) Are increased nutrient inputs responsible for more outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish? an appraisal of the evidence. Marine Pollution Bulletin, 51 (1-4). pp. 266-278.

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Abstract

The cause(s) of primary outbreaks of the coral-eating crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) are still subject to scientific controversy. The possibility of primary outbreaks being linked to terrestrial runoff has been postulated a number of times, suggesting that enhanced nutrient supply is critical for enhanced A. planci larval development. This paper examines the evidence for such a cause, focusing particularly on the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). Nutrient discharges from rivers have increased at least four-fold in the central GBR over the last century, and concentrations of large phyto-plankton (>2um) of the inshore central GBR shelf in the wet season when A. planci larvae develop, is double that of other places and times. Larval development, growth and survival increase almost ten-fold with doubled concentrations of large phyto-plankton. This and other lines of evidence suggest that frequent A. planci outbreaks on the GBR may indeed be a result of increased nutrient delivery from the land.

Item ID: 1712
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: crown-of-thorns starfish, nutrient runoff, Great Barrier Reef, phytoplankton, Acanthaster
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ISSN: 1879-3363
Date Deposited: 03 Oct 2007
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 100%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 0%
06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES @ 0%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960999 Land and Water Management of Environments not elsewhere classified @ 100%
Citation Count from Web of Science Web of Science 66
Downloads: Total: 76
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