Joint estimation of crown of thorns (Acanthaster planci) densities on the Great Barrier Reef

MacNeil, M. Aaron, Mellin, Camille, Pratchett, Morgan S., Hoey, Jessica, Anthony, Kenneth R.N., Cheal, Alistair J., Miller, Ian, Sweatman, Hugh, Cowan, Zara L., Taylor, Sascha, Moon, Steven, and Fonnesbeck, Chris J. (2016) Joint estimation of crown of thorns (Acanthaster planci) densities on the Great Barrier Reef. PeerJ, 4. pp. 1-17.

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Abstract

Crown-of-thorns starfish (CoTS; Acanthaster spp.) are an outbreaking pest among many Indo-Pacific coral reefs that cause substantial ecological and economic damage. Despite ongoing CoTS research, there remain critical gaps in observing CoTS populations and accurately estimating their numbers, greatly limiting understanding of the causes and sources of CoTS outbreaks. Here we address two of these gaps by (1) estimating the detectability of adult CoTS on typical underwater visual count (UVC) surveys using covariates and (2) inter-calibrating multiple data sources to estimate CoTS densities within the Cairns sector of the Great Barrier Reef (GBR). We find that, on average, CoTS detectability is high at 0.82 [0.77, 0.87] (median highest posterior density (HPD) and [95% uncertainty intervals]), with CoTS disc width having the greatest influence on detection. Integrating this information with coincident surveys from alternative sampling programs, we estimate CoTS densities in the Cairns sector of the GBR averaged 44 [41, 48] adults per hectare in 2014.

Item ID: 46122
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: CoTS, Bayesian analysis, monitoring, mark-recapture, data integration
Additional Information:

Copyright 2016 MacNeil et al. Distributed under Creative Commons CC-BY 4.0.

ISSN: 2167-8359
Funders: Australian Institute of Marine Science (AIMS), Queensland Department of Science, Industry, Technology and Innovation
Date Deposited: 19 Oct 2016 07:38
FoR Codes: 06 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 0602 Ecology > 060205 Marine and Estuarine Ecology (incl Marine Ichthyology) @ 40%
05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050206 Environmental Monitoring @ 60%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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