[Coral-List] RMI COT update
atolldino at yahoo.com
Sun Apr 17 19:55:59 EDT 2005
Our COT outbreak has reached a "plague" type scenario.
I finally checked on the reef (SW Majuro lagoon
fringing reef) where 900 COTs were previously killed
in local SCUBA interventions that I organized last
August. (I estimated a density of 1000-2000 COTs per
km of shoreline). While there are some surviving
Acroporas, over 90% have been eaten. (The abundant
smaller Acroporas, i.e. A. digitifera, on the reef
flat are unaffected). The COTs are now turning on
Pocillopora eydoxi, Pavona duerdeni, Lobophyllia and
especially Porites cf. lobata, the most abundant
species next to Acropora. The only coral not attacked
is P. rus, which dominates this site (Acropora formed
a narrow band between 1-4 meters depth, replaced by P.
rus in deeper water). This is the first time I have
seen entire massive Porites colonies killed;
previously there was minor "nibbling around the edges"
of such colonies.
Has anyone else seen such significant Porites
I have heard it suggested that a COT outbreak should
be left to run it course, with starvation eventually
ending the outbreak, but the prospect of the loss of
ancient Porites heads is sobering. I hope to renew
the intervention, to save some of the slow growing
forms, using night snorkeling around a tender boat.
Last year the fisheries ministry provided boat and
fuel for several intervention dives. Although I made
an appeal to the local government last year (showing a
video of collection techniques)I unfortunately had no
response, with no native divers getting involved.
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