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Superstars: assessing nutrient thresholds for enhanced larval success of Acanthaster planci, a review of the evidence


Worfe, K and Graba-Landry, A and Dworjanyn, SA and Byrne, M, Superstars: assessing nutrient thresholds for enhanced larval success of Acanthaster planci, a review of the evidence, Marine Pollution Bulletin, 116, (1-2) pp. 307-314. ISSN 0025-326X (2017) [Refereed Article]

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DOI: doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2016.12.079


Crown-of-thorns starfish, Acanthaster planci (COTS), predation is a major cause of coral reef decline, but the factors behind their population outbreaks remain unclear. Increased phytoplankton food resulting from eutrophication is suggested to enhance larval survival. We addressed the hypothesis that larval success is associated with particular chl-a levels in tightly controlled larval:algal conditions. We used chl-a conditions found on coral reefs (0.15.0 μg chl-a L 1), including nominal threshold levels for disproportionate larval success (≥ 1.0 μg chl-a L 1). High success to the juvenile occurred across an order of magnitude of chl-a concentrations (0.55.0 μg chl-a L 1), suggesting there may not be a narrow value for optimal success. Oligotrophic conditions (0.1 μg chl-a L 1) appeared to be a critical limit. With a review of the evidence, we suggest that opportunistic COTS larvae may be more resilient to low food levels than previously appreciated. Initiation of outbreak populations need not require eutrophic conditions.

Item Details

Item Type:Refereed Article
Keywords:crown-of-thorns, nutrient thresholds, boom-and-bust, Great Barrier Reef
Research Division:Biological Sciences
Research Group:Ecology
Research Field:Ecological physiology
Objective Division:Environmental Management
Objective Group:Coastal and estuarine systems and management
Objective Field:Control of pests, diseases and exotic species in coastal and estuarine environments
UTAS Author:Graba-Landry, A (Dr Alexia Graba-Landry)
ID Code:147558
Year Published:2017
Web of Science® Times Cited:23
Deposited By:Sustainable Marine Research Collaboration
Deposited On:2021-11-08
Last Modified:2021-11-10

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