Modelling growth of juvenile crown-of-thorns starfish on the northern Great Barrier Reef

Wilmes, Jennifer, Matthews, Samuel, Schultz, Daniel, Messmer, Vanessa, Hoey, Andrew, and Pratchett, Morgan (2017) Modelling growth of juvenile crown-of-thorns starfish on the northern Great Barrier Reef. Diversity, 9 (1). 1. pp. 1-11.

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The corallivorous crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster spp.) is a major cause of coral mortality on Indo-Pacific reefs. Despite considerable research into the biology of crown-of-thorns starfish, our understanding of the early post-settlement life stage has been hindered by the small size and cryptic nature of recently settled individuals. Most growth rates are derived from either laboratory studies or field studies conducted in Fiji and Japan. The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is currently experiencing its fourth recorded outbreak and population models to inform the progression of outbreaks lack critical growth rates of early life history stages. High numbers of 0+ year juveniles (n = 3532) were measured during extensive surveys of 64 reefs on the northern GBR between May and December 2015. An exponential growth model was fitted to the size measurement data to estimate monthly ranges of growth rates for 0+ year juveniles. Estimated growth rates varied considerably and increased with age (e.g., 0.028–0.041 for one-month-old juveniles versus 0.108–0.216 for twelve-month-old juveniles). This pioneering study of 0+ year juveniles on the GBR will inform population models and form the basis for more rigorous ongoing research to understand the fate of newly settled Acanthaster spp.

Item ID: 47559
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1424-2818
Keywords: juvenile crown-of-thorns starfish; growth rates; growth curve analysis
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Copyright Information: © 2016 by the authors; licensee MDPI, Basel, Switzerland. This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC-BY) license (
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A version of this publication was included as Chapter 3 of the following PhD thesis: Wilmes, Jennifer Christina (2020) Spatial and temporal variation in the demography of early-stage juvenile Pacific crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster cf. solaris) from Australia's Great Barrier Reef. PhD thesis, James Cook University, which is available Open Access in ResearchOnline@JCU. Please see the Related URLs for access.

Funders: Association for Marine Tourism Operators (AMPTO)
Date Deposited: 07 Mar 2017 03:31
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 100%
SEO Codes: 97 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 970106 Expanding Knowledge in the Biological Sciences @ 100%
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