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Diversity 2016, 8(4), 18; doi:10.3390/d8040018

Crown-of-Thorns Starfish Larvae Can Feed on Organic Matter Released from Corals

1
Scripps Institution of Oceanography, University of California San Diego, 9500 Gilman Drive, La Jolla, CA 92083-0202, USA
2
Faculty of Science and Engineering, Soka University, Hachioji, Tokyo 192-8577, Japan
3
Faculty of Science, University of the Ryukyus, Nishihara, Okinawa 903-0213, Japan
4
Coralquest Inc., Atsugi, Kanagawa 243-0014, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Received: 10 August 2016 / Accepted: 28 September 2016 / Published: 6 October 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biology, Ecology and Management of Crown-of-Thorns Starfish)
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Abstract

Previous studies have suggested that Crown-of-Thorns starfish (COTS) larvae may be able to survive in the absence of abundant phytoplankton resources suggesting that they may be able to utilize alternative food sources. Here, we tested the hypothesis that COTS larvae are able to feed on coral-derived organic matter using labeled stable isotope tracers (13C and 15N). Our results show that coral-derived organic matter (coral mucus and associated microorganisms) can be assimilated by COTS larvae and may be an important alternative or additional food resource for COTS larvae through periods of low phytoplankton biomass. This additional food resource could potentially facilitate COTS outbreaks by reducing resource limitation. View Full-Text
Keywords: Acanthaster; COTS; coral reefs; coral mucus; food limitation; isotope analysis; Japan Acanthaster; COTS; coral reefs; coral mucus; food limitation; isotope analysis; Japan
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This is an open access article distributed under the Creative Commons Attribution License which permits unrestricted use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited. (CC BY 4.0).

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Nakajima, R.; Nakatomi, N.; Kurihara, H.; Fox, M.D.; Smith, J.E.; Okaji, K. Crown-of-Thorns Starfish Larvae Can Feed on Organic Matter Released from Corals. Diversity 2016, 8, 18.

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