[Coral-List] RMI COT outbreak

Dean Jacobson atolldino at yahoo.com
Wed Sep 15 21:29:22 EDT 2004

This morning I ran a 50 m transect in a Crown of
thorns infested area of the south west part of Majuro
lagoon, 20 miles east of Rita (adjacent to a
shipwreck); students helped by marking coral that
harbored hidden COTs.  Result: 20 adult COT/100 m2,
perhaps 10,000/ km of shore. (I am also recording
video transects, repeating the same transect at 24 or
72 hour intervals) The COTs are feeding in a shallow,
2-3 meter belt having a highly diverse Acropora
population, one of the best in this lagoon.  A
guestimate of coral mortality at this site so far is
10-20%.  According to local fishermen COT are abundant
in the Laura and Woja area, stretching over 10 km,
perhaps as much as 20 km of shore. Start of the
outbreak is unclear, probably several months ago; I
will need to survey further to the east, where I
expect to find higher coral mortality.  Another
aggregation is found in the northern ship channel near

I am planning to organize an intervention, using
snorkelers and a light fiberglass canoe (with
outrigger) to transport the animals to shore for
disposal.  This would at last preserve a small patch
of reef.  Any comments or suggestions are welcome.

Dean Jacobson, Ph.D.  College of the Marshall Islands
atolldino at yahoo.com

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