"You might not realise it, but the infamous crown-of-thorns starfish is native
to coral reefs throughout the Indo-Pacific – including the Great Barrier Reef.
When they’re fully grown, these large, thorn-covered starfish dine on hard
That’s fine when their populations are small. They can play an important role
in keeping reefs healthy by eating fast-growing branching corals and clearing
space for slower-growing coral species.
But when their populations surge, they can decimate coral reefs – and strip
habitat for the myriad species relying on them.
Our coral reefs are already suffering from marine heatwaves, pollution and
overfishing. Crown-of-thorns outbreaks can push reefs over the edge.
But can these starfish survive the marine heatwaves now striking the oceans
more and more regularly? To find out, we worked out what temperatures the
starfish could handle.
Our results suggest baby crown-of-thorns starfish are, unfortunately, very
tolerant of warmer water. It’s more bad news for our sick reefs."
*** Xanni ***
Chief Scientist, Xanadu
Partner, Glass Wings
Manager, Serious Cybernetics