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Survival rates of juvenile crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) at Davies Reef, Great Barrier Reef

Predator exclusion experiments, using laboratory reared juvenile crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci), were carried out in an area of dead coral rubble on the leeward side of Davies Reef, at depths between 12 and 15 m. One month post settlement starfish were deployed in February 1991, while 4 and 16 month old starfish were deployed in May 1991 and 7 month old starfish were deployed in August 1991. Three different sized plastic boxes with tight fitting lids were prepared for the different age groups of starfish and the lids and sides of the boxes were covered with mesh. After deployment, the mesh on the boxes was cleaned every 1 to 2 days to remove silt and the adequacy of water flow through the mesh was tested periodically.Starfish were placed in boxes with either a natural rubble treatment or a control rubble treatment. The natural rubble treatment consisted of pieces of unconsolidated dead coral rubble, complete with algal and motile epifaunal assemblages, which were collected directly from the seabed at the time of deployment. The control rubble treatment was made up of sun bleached or beach collected coral rubble, which was conditioned in flow-through aquaria for several weeks to allow algal and epifaunal assemblages to develop.Ten boxes of each of the control rubble and natural rubble treatments were used for the 1, 4, and 7 month old starfish, while 5 natural rubble treatments only were used for the 16 month old starfish. In addition, 5 replicate open boxes (natural rubble treatment, without lids) were deployed with 7 month old starfish, allowing free movement of the starfish and predators in and out of the boxes. Open boxes containing 1, 7 and 16 month old starfish were deployed inside larger boxes as escape controls and on recovery the numbers of starfish which had moved to the outer boxes were counted. The number of starfish placed in each box was dependent in the age class of the starfish and the number of starfish available in each age class.The boxes were recovered after 6, 13, 16 and 13 days for the 1, 4, 7 and 16 month old starfish respectively. The contents of each box were washed into bottles and fixed in mixture of buffered 10% formalin in seawater and Rose-Bengal stain. Prior to fixing, any starfish, which could be recovered alive were removed, counted and measured (greatest diameter). The fixed material was sorted by washing the rubble over 6, 1 and 0.1 mm mesh screens and then the rubble was individually washed over the mesh. All starfish were then recovered from the mesh screens and counted and measured. Other epifauna in the 1 mm screen were also counted and categorised with the aid of a dissecting microscope.

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Additional Info

Field Value
Title Survival rates of juvenile crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci) at Davies Reef, Great Barrier Reef
Type Dataset
Language English
Licence Other
Data Status inactive
Update Frequency notPlanned
Landing Page http://data.gov.au/dataset/d2812b5e-0a98-4591-834a-b711ad2c360c
Date Published 2017-03-24
Date Updated 2017-04-15
Contact Point
Australian Institute of Marine Science
adc@aims.gov.au
Geospatial Coverage {"type": "Point", "coordinates": [147.65, -18.833333]}
Jurisdiction Commonwealth of Australia
Data Portal Australian Oceans Data Network CSW Harvester
Publisher/Agency Australian Institute of Marine Science
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