[Coral-List] COTS outbreak prediction model

Scott Wooldridge swooldri23 at gmail.com
Mon Oct 19 17:03:10 EDT 2015

Hi All,

Just drawing attention to a new publication:

Wooldridge SA, Brodie JE (2015) Environmental triggers for primary
outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish on the Great Barrier Reef, Australia.
Marine Pollution Bulletin doi:10.1016/j.marpolbul.2015.08.049

*ABSTRACT *In this paper, we postulate a unique environmental triggering
sequence for primary outbreaks of crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS, *Acanthaster
planci*) on the central Great Barrier Reef (GBR, Australia). Notably, we
extend the previous *terrestrial runoff hypothesis*, viz. nutrient-enriched
terrestrial runoff ® elevated phytoplankton ‘bloom’ concentrations ® enhanced
COTS larval survival, to include the additional importance of strong larvae
retention around reefs or within reef groups (clusters) that share enhanced
phytoplankton concentrations. For the central GBR, this scenario is shown
to occur when El Niño–Southern Oscillation (ENSO) linked hydrodynamic
conditions cause the ‘regional’ larval connectivity network to fragment
into smaller ‘local’ reef clusters due to low ocean current velocities. As
inter-annual variations in hydrodynamic circulation patterns are not
amenable to direct management intervention, the ability to reduce the
future frequency of COTS outbreaks on the central GBR is shown to be
contingent on reducing terrestrial bioavailable nutrient loads ~ 20–40%.

Thanks, scott


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