Navigation Links
Starfish strike at coral kingdom
Date:1/16/2008

Outbreaks of the notorious crown of thorns starfish now threaten the coral triangle the richest center of coral reef biodiversity on Earth.

Thats the finding of recent scientific surveys by the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and the Wildlife Conservation Society based at the Bronz Zoo, USA.

The starfish a predator that feeds on corals by spreading its stomach over them using digestive enzymes to liquefy tissue was discovered in large numbers by the researchers on reefs in Halmahera, Indonesia, at the heart of the Coral Triangle, which lies between Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Papua New Guinea, Palau and the Solomon Islands.

The Coral Triangle is considered the genetic fountainhead for many corals found on Australias Great Barrier Reef, Ningaloo and other reefs in the region.

The surveys confirmed that while Halmaheras reefs are still 30-50 percent richer than nearby reefs, some areas were almost completely destroyed.

The heart of the Coral Triangle is broken, says Tasrif Katawijaya from the Wildlife Conservation Societys Marine Program in Indonesia (WCS-IP).

Scientists fear the outbreak is caused by poor water quality, and could be an early warning of widespread reef decline.

The main cause of damage to the corals was the Crown of Thorns Starfish, Dr. Andrew Baird of the ARC Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies and James Cook University. We witnessed a number of active outbreaks of this coral predator. There was little to suggest that the reefs have been much affected by climate change as yet: the threats appear far more localized.

The team also saw first-hand evidence of recent blast-fishing which, according to locals, accompanied the break down of law and order following communal violence in Halmahera between 2000-2003. At the same time many reef lagoons have been mined of their corals for use in construction.

This is clearly a complex human environment, and effective management of the marine resources must seek to understand and address the causes of conflict among communities, says Dr Stuart Campbell, Program Leader for the WCS-IP.

The researchers pointed out that there were still healthy populations of certain species and still time to reverse the damage.

The good news is that the reef fish assemblages are still in very good shape said Tasrif Katawijaya from WCS-IP. We saw napoleon wrasse and bump head parrot fish at almost every site. So these reefs have the capacity to recover if we can address the current threats.

The Coral Triangle Initiative (CTI) announced by six regional governments at the Bali Climate Change Conference recently offers hope for the reefs in the region, the researchers say. However, there are few details of how it will work and in particular, there is, as yet, no mention of the fundamental role of research in the conservation programme.

We are disappointed that a comprehensive research programme is yet to be outlined in the CTI. The success of large marine parks, like the Great Barrier Reef Marine Park, is due to the primary role of science in understanding whats going on, so managers can make good decisions, said Baird.

It isnt enough just to document the diversity of the region. Large scale research is required to understand the Coral Triangle ecosystems and to decide how best to respond to threats such as poor water quality and overexploitation, Campbell added.


'/>"/>

Contact: Andrew Baird
andrew.baird@jcu.edu.au
61-040-028-9770
ARC Centre of Excellence in Coral Reef Studies
Source:Eurekalert

Related biology news :

1. Starfish outbreak threatens corals
2. Brain cell growth diminishes long before old age strikes, animal study shows
3. Humans have caused profound changes in Caribbean coral reefs
4. Major study concludes that global warming is killing off coral
5. Coral reefs unlikely to survive in acid oceans
6. Immediate action needed to save corals from climate change
7. Its official: The carbon crisis is lethal for coral reefs
8. Wildlife Conservation Society study finds seasonal seas save corals with tough love
9. New south Florida nursery to focus on staghorn corals
10. TAU professor finds global warming is melting soft coral
11. Coral reefs will be permanently damaged without urgent action
Post Your Comments:
*Name:
*Comment:
*Email:
(Date:4/5/2017)... , April 4, 2017 KEY FINDINGS ... to expand at a CAGR of 25.76% during the ... is the primary factor for the growth of the ... https://www.reportbuyer.com/product/4807905/ MARKET INSIGHTS The global stem ... technology, application, and geography. The stem cell market of ...
(Date:3/30/2017)... March 30, 2017 Trends, opportunities and forecast ... behavioral), by technology (fingerprint, AFIS, iris recognition, facial recognition, ... others), by end use industry (government and law enforcement, ... and banking, and others), and by region ( ... Asia Pacific , and the Rest ...
(Date:3/24/2017)... Research and Markets has announced the addition ... Trends - Industry Forecast to 2025" report to their offering. ... The Global Biometric ... of around 15.1% over the next decade to reach approximately $1,580 ... market estimates and forecasts for all the given segments on global ...
Breaking Biology News(10 mins):
(Date:10/10/2017)... , ... October 10, 2017 , ... ... of 13 prestigious awards honoring scientists who have made outstanding ... a scheduled symposium during Pittcon 2018, the world’s leading conference and exposition for ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... 2017 , ... The award-winning American Farmer television series will feature 3 Bar ... Tuesdays at 8:30aET on RFD-TV. , With global population estimates nearing ten billion ... continue to feed a growing nation. At the same time, many of our valuable ...
(Date:10/9/2017)... ... 2017 , ... The Giving Tree Wellness Center announces the ... of consumers who are incorporating medical marijuana into their wellness and health regimens. ... operators of two successful Valley dispensaries, The Giving Tree’s two founders, Lilach Mazor ...
(Date:10/7/2017)... ... October 06, 2017 , ... ... and applications consulting for microscopy and surface analysis, Nanoscience Instruments is now ... Analytical offers a broad range of contract analysis services for advanced applications. ...
Breaking Biology Technology: