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Diversity 2016, 8(4), 24; doi:10.3390/d8040024

Using Long-Term Removal Data to Manage a Crown-of-Thorns Starfish Population

1
School of Marine Science and Technology, Tokai University, Shimizu, Shizuoka 424-8610, Japan
2
Onna Village Fisheries Cooperative, Onna, Okinawa 904-0414, Japan
3
National Institute for Environmental Studies, Tsukuba, Ibaraki 305-8506, Japan
4
Coralquest Inc., Atsugi, Kanagawa 243-0014, Japan
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Morgan Pratchett and Sven Uthicke
Received: 21 September 2016 / Revised: 11 November 2016 / Accepted: 14 November 2016 / Published: 18 November 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biology, Ecology and Management of Crown-of-Thorns Starfish)
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Abstract

Background: Removal programs are effective strategies for short-term management of Crown-of-Thorns Starfish (Acanthaster spp.) populations, especially on a small scale. However, management programs are costly, and, in order to be effective, they must be based on local Acanthaster spp. population dynamics. We have developed simple models to predict the annual number of removable A. cf. solaris along the Onna coast of western central Okinawa Island, where chronic outbreaks have continued for several decades. Methods: The Onna coastal area was divided into five sectors, and annual abundance of small A. cf. solaris individuals was used to predict the total number of removable individuals of a cohort in each sector. Three models were developed, based on size class data collected by the Onna Village Fisheries Cooperative (OVFC) for 2003–2015, according to possible patterns of recruitment and adult occurrence. Using the best-fit models selected for each of the five sectors, the number of individuals that potentially escaped removal was calculated. Results: Best-fit models were likely to differ among the five sectors instead of small differences in the coefficients of determination. The models predict differences in the number of residual starfish among sectors; the northernmost sector was predicted to have a high number of residuals and the potential density of A. cf. solaris in the sector exceeded the outbreak criterion. Conclusions: These results suggest how to allocate resources to reduce the population of A. cf. solaris along the Onna coast in 2016. The OVFC implemented a control program for A. cf. solaris based on three model predictions. View Full-Text
Keywords: Acanthaster planci; coral; conservation; statistical model Acanthaster planci; coral; conservation; statistical model
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MDPI and ACS Style

Nakamura, M.; Higa, Y.; Kumagai, N.H.; Okaji, K. Using Long-Term Removal Data to Manage a Crown-of-Thorns Starfish Population. Diversity 2016, 8, 24.

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