Navigation Links
Coral-eating sea star invaders turn out to be locals
Date:2/21/2012

One of the greatest biological threats to tropical coral reefs can be a population outbreak of crown-of-thorns (COT) sea stars (Acanthaster planci). Outbreaks can consume live corals over large areas, a change that can promote algal growth, alter reef fish populations, and reduce the aesthetic value of coral reefs, which in turn negatively affects tourism. Despite more than 30 years of research, the triggers and spread of COT outbreaks are not fully understood. Human impacts such as urbanization, runoff, and fishing have been correlated with outbreaks, but some outbreaks continue to occur in the absence of known anthropogenic triggers. Waves of a spreading outbreak that moves southerly along the Great Barrier Reef are termed secondary outbreaks because they are thought to be seeded from dispersing larvae of a primary outbreak upstream.

This secondary outbreak hypothesis has been widely accepted as the mechanism by which COT outbreaks spread across broad regions of the Pacific Ocean and impact remote locations such as Hawai'i, Guam, or French Polynesia - until now. A team of scientists from the Hawai'i Institute of Marine Biology and the Joint Institute for Marine and Atmospheric Research at the University of Hawai'i and Rutgers University have recently used genetic techniques to evaluate the spatial scale at which COT outbreaks can occur via larval dispersal across the central Pacific Ocean. The results of this work have demonstrated that unlike on the Great Barrier Reef, COT larvae are not moving en masse among central Pacific archipelagos. In fact, contrary to expectations under the secondary outbreak hypothesis, all COT outbreaks in the study came from local populations. On a finer scale, genetic differences were detected among reefs around islands and even between lagoon and forereef habitats of the same island, indicating that the larvae of this species are not routinely reaching their full dispersal potential, and are certainly not fueling outbreaks at distant sites. This research has proved that outbreaks are not some rogue population that expands and ravages across central Pacific reefs. Instead, the authors hypothesize that nutrient inputs and favorable climatic and ecological conditions likely fuel outbreaks of local populations.

This work is particularly important because most current management strategies are focused on stopping secondary spread rather than preventing human activities that can start an outbreak. This study is the first genetic survey of COT populations in which both outbreak and non-outbreak populations are surveyed across a broad region of the Pacific and the results are pretty clear that outbreaks are not jumping across large expanses of open ocean. Dr. Rob Toonen, one of the researchers involved in this project, explains "the genetic differences found among COT populations clearly indicate that outbreaks are not spreading from the Hawaiian Archipelago to elsewhere. Furthermore, the similarity between outbreak and non-outbreak COT populations within each archipelago indicates that outbreaks are a local phenomenon. Our recommendation to managers is to seriously consider the role that environmental conditions and local nutrient inputs play in driving COT outbreaks."


'/>"/>

Contact: Carlie Wiener
cwiener@hawaii.edu
808-628-8666
University of Hawaii ‑ SOEST
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Food security for leaf-cutting ants: Workers and their fungus garden reject endophyte invaders
2. Will Europe at last unite to combat thousands of alien invaders?
3. Visualizing viruses: new research pinpoints tiny invaders
4. Invaders could devastate Florida avocado industry
5. CSI and alien invaders in Puerto Rico
6. Smithsonian scientists help block ship-borne bioinvaders before they dock
7. EPA grants help Wayne State researchers stave off Great Lakes environmental invaders
8. Coasts best protection from bioinvaders falling short
9. F. nucleatum enables breaking bond on blood vessels to allow invaders in
10. Climate change invites alien invaders - Is Canada ready?
11. UCSF team uncovers how immune cells move against invaders
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/19/2016)... The new GEZE SecuLogic access ... "all-in-one" system solution for all door components. It can ... door interface with integration authorization management system, and thus ... minimal dimensions of the access control and the optimum ... offer considerable freedom of design with regard to the ...
(Date:3/31/2016)... , March 31, 2016 ... ) ("LegacyXChange" or the "Company") LegacyXChange is ... users of its soon to be launched online site ... https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCyTLBzmZogV1y2D6bDkBX5g ) will also provide potential shareholders ... of DNA technology to an industry that is notorious ...
(Date:3/22/2016)... and SANDY, Utah , ... which operates the highest sample volume laboratory in ... Genomics and UNIConnect, leaders in clinical sequencing informatics and ... launch of a project to establish the informatics infrastructure ... NSO has been contracted by the Ontario ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:4/28/2016)... PUNE, India , April 28, 2016 ... PT, JT, Stirling, and Brayton Cryocoolers), Service (Technical Support, ... Application, and Geography - Global Forecast to 2022", published ... to USD 2.94 Billion by 2022, at a CAGR ... Browse 70 market data Tables and 94 Figures spread ...
(Date:4/28/2016)... ... April 28, 2016 , ... Next week ... talk on its first-in-class technologies for tissue stem cell counting and expansion to ... Biology to Reprogramming & CRISPR-based Genome Engineering in Burlington, Massachusetts. , The attention ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... (PRWEB) , ... April 27, 2016 , ... Cambridge ... by semantic web technology, today announced that it has been named to The Silicon ... sciences, financial services and other markets, Cambridge Semantics serves the needs of end users ...
(Date:4/27/2016)... ... April 27, 2016 , ... Most ... devices with fingerprint recognition for secure access, voice recognition for hands-free communication, and ... consumers are interacting with biometrics technology today. But if they asked Joey ...
Breaking Biology Technology: