Winston the Starfish

25 May 2015

Winston the Starfish A fact finding mission for a pesty problem


Jessica Hoey and 'Winston the Starfish' will travel to New Zealand, Japan, the USA and Canada over 6-weeks on a fact finding mission to investigate integrated management strategies and their potential application to crown-of-thornes starfish on the Great Barrier Reef.

The crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) is native to coral reefs in the Indo-Pacific region.

On healthy coral reefs, the coral-eating starfish plays an important role, as it tends to feed on the fastest growing corals such as staghorns and plate corals, allowing slower growing coral species to form colonies. This helps increase coral diversity.

However, outbreaks of this venomous invertebrate pose one of the most significant threats to the Great Barrier Reef.

According to research by the Australian Institute of Marine Science, coral cover on surveyed reefs has declined by about 50 per cent over the past 30 years. Crown-of-thorns starfish were responsible for almost half of this decline.

They will meet with aquatic pest management experts to identify actions that can be applied to the crown-of thorns starfish problem on the Great Barrier Reef.

Like the Winston the Starfish Facebook page to follow their journey.

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