Potential enhanced survivorship of crown of thorns starfish larvae due to near-annual nutrient enrichment during secondary outbreaks on the central mid-shelf of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Brodie, Jon, Devlin, Michelle, and Lewis, Stephen (2017) Potential enhanced survivorship of crown of thorns starfish larvae due to near-annual nutrient enrichment during secondary outbreaks on the central mid-shelf of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Diversity, 9 (17).

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Abstract

The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is currently experiencing widespread crown of thorns starfish (CoTS) outbreaks, as part of the fourth wave of outbreaks since 1962. It is believed that these outbreaks have become more frequent on the GBR and elsewhere in the Indo-Pacific and are associated with anthropogenic causes. The two widely accepted potential causes are (1) anthropogenic nutrient enrichment leading to the increased biomass of phytoplankton, the food of the planktonic stage of larval CoTS; and (2) the overfishing of predators in the juvenile to adult stages of CoTS, for example, commercially fished species such as coral trout. In this study, we show that the evidence for the nutrient enrichment causation hypothesis is strongly based on a large number of recent studies in the GBR. We also hypothesise that secondary outbreaks in the region between Cairns and Townsville can also be enhanced by nutrient enriched conditions associated with the annual nutrient discharge from Wet Tropics rivers.

Item ID: 53348
Item Type: Article (Refereed Research - C1)
Keywords: crown of thorns starfish; Great Barrier Reef; nutrient enrichment; larval survivorship
Additional Information:

This article is an open access article distributed under the terms and conditions of the Creative Commons Attribution (CC BY) license (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/).

ISSN: 1424-2818
Date Deposited: 27 Apr 2018 01:19
FoR Codes: 05 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 0502 Environmental Science and Management > 050205 Environmental Management @ 100%
SEO Codes: 96 ENVIRONMENT > 9605 Ecosystem Assessment and Management > 960503 Ecosystem Assessment and Management of Coastal and Estuarine Environments @ 100%
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