Preprint Review Version 1 This version is not peer-reviewed

Potential Enhanced Survivorship of Crown of Thorns Starfish Larvae due to Near-Annual Nutrient Enrichment during Secondary Outbreaks on the Central Mid-Shelf of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia

Version 1 : Received: 7 December 2016 / Approved: 7 December 2016 / Online: 7 December 2016 (11:18:50 CET)

A peer-reviewed article of this Preprint also exists.

Brodie, J.; Devlin, M.; Lewis, S. Potential Enhanced Survivorship of Crown of Thorns Starfish Larvae due to Near-Annual Nutrient Enrichment during Secondary Outbreaks on the Central Mid-Shelf of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Diversity 2017, 9, 17. Brodie, J.; Devlin, M.; Lewis, S. Potential Enhanced Survivorship of Crown of Thorns Starfish Larvae due to Near-Annual Nutrient Enrichment during Secondary Outbreaks on the Central Mid-Shelf of the Great Barrier Reef, Australia. Diversity 2017, 9, 17.

Journal reference: Diversity 2017, 9, 17
DOI: 10.3390/d9010017

Abstract

The Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is currently experiencing widespread crown of thorns starfish (CoTS) outbreaks as part of the fourth wave of outbreaks since 1962. It is believed that outbreaks have become more frequent on the GBR and elsewhere in the Indo-Pacific associated with anthropogenic causes. The two widely accepted potential causes are (1) anthropogenic nutrient enrichment leading to increased biomass of phytoplankton, the food of the planktonic stage of larval CoTS; and (2) overfishing of predators on the juvenile to adult stages of CoTS, for example, commercial fished species such as coral trout. In this study, we show the evidence for the nutrient enrichment causation hypothesis is strong based on a large number of recent studies in the GBR. We also hypothesise that secondary outbreaks in the region between Cairns and Townsville can also be enhanced by nutrient enriched conditions associated with the annual nutrient discharge from Wet Tropics rivers.

Subject Areas

crown of thorns starfish; Great Barrier Reef; nutrient enrichment; larval survivorship

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