Effects of elevated temperature on the performance and survival of pacific crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster cf. solaris)

Lang, Bethan J., Donelson, Jennifer M., Caballes, Ciemon F., Uthicke, Sven, Doll, Peter C., and Pratchett, Morgan S. (2022) Effects of elevated temperature on the performance and survival of pacific crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster cf. solaris). Marine Biology, 169. 43.

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Population irruptions of Pacific crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster cf. solaris) have caused substantial damage to coral reefs, but it is largely unknown how this asteroid will fare in a warmer ocean. We exposed these starfish to one of four thermal treatments, with final temperatures of 26 °C (control, annual average), 28 °C (summer average), 30 °C (summer maximum) and 32 °C (predicted summer maximum by 2100). We measured the righting time, movement rate, standard metabolic rate and probability of survival of the crown-of-thorns starfish at various timepoints over ~ 60 days. We found that while tempera- ture did not affect righting time, it did significantly affect movement rate. The movement rate of starfish increased across the 26 to 30 °C range, with those at 28 °C and 30 °C moving 18 and 27% faster than those at the control temperature. Similarly, the standard metabolic rate of starfish increased from 26 to 30 °C, with metabolism 100% and 260% faster at 28 °C and 30 °C compared to those at the 26 °C control. At 32 °C, individual starfish exhibited a 14% slower movement rate, a 33% slower metabolic rate, and also exhibited a fourfold lower probability of survival than those at 30 °C. These results indicate that 32 °C is above the thermal optimum of crown-of-thorns starfish, suggesting that prolonged exposure to temperatures that are expected to be regularly exceeded under near-future climate change may be detrimental to this species.

Item ID: 72783
Item Type: Article (Research - C1)
ISSN: 1432-1793
Keywords: Climate change, Coral reefs, Behaviour, Movement, Metabolic rate, Mortality
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Copyright Information: This article is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, which permits use, sharing, adaptation, distribution and reproduction in any medium or format, as long as you give appropriate credit to the original author(s) and the source, provide a link to the Creative Commons licence, and indicate if changes were made. The images or other third party material in this article are included in the article's Creative Commons licence, unless indicated otherwise in a credit line to the material. If material is not included in the article's Creative Commons licence and your intended use is not permitted by statutory regulation or exceeds the permitted use, you will need to obtain permission directly from the copyright holder. To view a copy of this licence, visit http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/.
Funders: ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies
Projects and Grants: ARC FT190100015
Date Deposited: 08 Mar 2022 01:05
FoR Codes: 41 ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES > 4101 Climate change impacts and adaptation > 410102 Ecological impacts of climate change and ecological adaptation @ 50%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310301 Behavioural ecology @ 25%
31 BIOLOGICAL SCIENCES > 3103 Ecology > 310303 Ecological physiology @ 25%
SEO Codes: 19 ENVIRONMENTAL POLICY, CLIMATE CHANGE AND NATURAL HAZARDS > 1905 Understanding climate change > 190504 Effects of climate change on Australia (excl. social impacts) @ 80%
28 EXPANDING KNOWLEDGE > 2801 Expanding knowledge > 280111 Expanding knowledge in the environmental sciences @ 10%
18 ENVIRONMENTAL MANAGEMENT > 1805 Marine systems and management > 180501 Assessment and management of benthic marine ecosystems @ 10%
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