Citric acid injections: an accessible and efficient method for controlling outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns starfish Acanthaster cf. solaris

Buck, Alexander C.E., Gardiner, Naomi M., and Boström-Einarsson, Lisa (2016) Citric acid injections: an accessible and efficient method for controlling outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns starfish Acanthaster cf. solaris. Diversity, 8 (28). d8040028. pp. 1-12.

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Outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster cf. solaris, COTS) are one of the primary causes of coral decline in the Indo-Pacific region. Effective methods to control COTS outbreaks may therefore be one of the most direct and immediate ways to reduce coral loss. However, the cost and logistical challenges associated with current control methods have undermined the effectiveness of many control efforts. In this study, we tested the feasibility of using powdered citric acid, which is widely available and low-cost, as an injection chemical for COTS control. We tested what combination of concentration, number of injections, volume, and water type were most efficient at killing COTS. All COTS injected in two or four sites died, irrespectively of the concentration of citric acid used, while single injections failed at reaching 100% mortality. The fastest combination was the injection of 150 g·L−1 citric acid solution in four injection sites (5 mL per site), which killed the starfish in 26.4 ± 4 h. These results suggest that injections of powdered citric acid are an effective, economical, and widely available alternative to current COTS control methods.

Item ID: 48602
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1424-2818
Keywords: COTS; outbreak; control methods; pest control; coral reefs; injections
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

Funders: Ian Potter Foundation (IPF), James Cook University
Projects and Grants: IPF 50th Anniversary COTS Control Grant
Date Deposited: 23 Apr 2017 22:27
FoR Codes: 31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310305 Marine and estuarine ecology (incl. marine ichthyology) @ 50%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4102 Ecological applications > 410202 Biosecurity science and invasive species ecology @ 25%
41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4104 Environmental management > 410404 Environmental management @ 25%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9604 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species > 960407 Control of Pests, Diseases and Exotic Species in Marine Environments @ 100%
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