HARD TO SPOT: during the very early life stages, the starfish is extremely small and very hard to see.
HARD TO SPOT: during the very early life stages, the starfish is extremely small and very hard to see. Contributed

Thirty years of research into crown of thorns

A NEW book exploring the best scientific research on preventing coral-eating Crown-Of-Thorns Starfish outbreaks, is expected to become a critical resource for informing management of these outbreaks across the Indo-Pacific.

The book Biology, Ecology and Management of Crown-of-Thorns Starfish is the latest authoritative work across 30 years of COTS research.

Containing 18 new research papers and reviews, the book highlights both significant scientific advances and emerging opportunities for targeted research.

World-renowned experts,professor Morgan Pratchett of Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies at James Cook University, and Dr Sven Uthicke of the Australian Institute of Marine Science co-edited the special edition, open access book.

Professor Pratchett's research over the past two decades has contributed significantly to understanding the causes and consequences of outbreaks.

He said COTSwere "akin to locusts" and said there was still much to learn.

"Outbreaks occur on many reefs ... including the Great Barrier Reef, and contribute to the widespread degradation of these valuable ecosystems," Prof Pratchett said.

"Despite significant research on the biology and ecology of COTS, there are still some considerable knowledge gaps and opportunities for important discoveries.

"More than a thousand research papers have been written about these animals, reflecting the ecological impact and management concern surrounding COTS outbreaks."



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