Early detection of Crown-of-Thorns Starfish outbreaks

Early detection of Crown-of-Thorns Starfish outbreaks

Early detection of population outbreaks in Crown of Thorns Starfish (Acanthaster solaris cf, aka CoTS) is a necessary precursor to containment. Excellent progress has been made over the past few years, especially in the deployment of DNA technology.  The five research...
Reef fish recruitment and microplastics

Reef fish recruitment and microplastics

My colleagues and I are researching how plastic consumption may affect the transition (recruitment) that fish make from an open water (pelagic) existence to settlement in a coral reef community. Microplastics have been found in the digestive tracts of juvenile coral...
Horror, wonder and science of Crown-of-Thorns Starfish

Horror, wonder and science of Crown-of-Thorns Starfish

The Crown of Thorns Starfish (CoTS) invoke horror and wonder.  They also spur important science. Horror and wonder  CoTS (Acanthaster) are indigenous to the Great Barrier Reef.  They eat coral. In “normal” periods there are relatively few adult CoTS to be found and...
Larval cloning of the Crown of Thorns Starfish

Larval cloning of the Crown of Thorns Starfish

Recently-published research shows larval Crown of Thorns Starfish (CoTS) clone themselves.  A larval CoTS can split, resulting in TWO larval CoTS, each having the capacity to become a fully fertile adult.  It takes less than a second. One moment there is a single...