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Environ Monit Assess 2018 May 12;1906:344. doi: 10.1007/s10661-018-6661-z.
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Monitoring and assessing a 2-year outbreak of the corallivorous seastar Acanthaster planci in Ari Atoll, Republic of Maldives.

Saponari L , Montalbetti E , Galli P , Strona G , Seveso D , Dehnert I , Montano S .

Outbreaks of the corallivorous crown-of-thorns seastars have received increasing attention due to their negative impacts on coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific Ocean. However, outbreaks in remote and dislocated islands are still poorly understood. This study aims to begin filling informational gaps regarding outbreaks of Acanthaster planci in the remote islands of the central Ari Atoll, Republic of Maldives. The population of A. planci was monitored during three periods over 2 years (2015-2016) to evaluate variations in abundance and to characterise size structure and feeding behaviour. The outbreak appeared to be severe and active throughout the entire study period. The size structure analysis revealed a multimodal distribution dominated by individuals between 20 and 30 cm, suggesting that the outbreak may have resulted from a few nearby mass spawning events. Additionally, the most abundant live coral was Porites, which was also the most consumed genus; however, the electivity index showed a preference for corals of the genera Favites and Pavona. Finally, we also highlighted the need for more geographically extended surveys to better understand local patterns regarding outbreaks of A. planci in the Republic of Maldives.

PubMed ID: 29754219
Article link: Environ Monit Assess

References [+] :
Babcock, Assessing Different Causes of Crown-of-Thorns Starfish Outbreaks and Appropriate Responses for Management on the Great Barrier Reef. 2017, Pubmed, Echinobase