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Diversity 2016, 8(4), 28; doi:10.3390/d8040028

Citric Acid Injections: An Accessible and Efficient Method for Controlling Outbreaks of the Crown-of-Thorns Starfish Acanthaster cf. solaris

1
Marine Biology and Aquaculture, College of Science and Engineering, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia
2
Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Coral Reef Studies, James Cook University, Townsville, QLD 4811, Australia
*
Author to whom correspondence should be addressed.
Academic Editors: Sven Uthicke and Michael Wink
Received: 10 October 2016 / Revised: 29 November 2016 / Accepted: 3 December 2016 / Published: 10 December 2016
(This article belongs to the Special Issue Biology, Ecology and Management of Crown-of-Thorns Starfish)
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Abstract

Outbreaks of the crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster cf. solaris, COTS) are one of the primary causes of coral decline in the Indo-Pacific region. Effective methods to control COTS outbreaks may therefore be one of the most direct and immediate ways to reduce coral loss. However, the cost and logistical challenges associated with current control methods have undermined the effectiveness of many control efforts. In this study, we tested the feasibility of using powdered citric acid, which is widely available and low-cost, as an injection chemical for COTS control. We tested what combination of concentration, number of injections, volume, and water type were most efficient at killing COTS. All COTS injected in two or four sites died, irrespectively of the concentration of citric acid used, while single injections failed at reaching 100% mortality. The fastest combination was the injection of 150 g·L−1 citric acid solution in four injection sites (5 mL per site), which killed the starfish in 26.4 ± 4 h. These results suggest that injections of powdered citric acid are an effective, economical, and widely available alternative to current COTS control methods. View Full-Text
Keywords: COTS; outbreak; control methods; pest control; coral reefs; injections COTS; outbreak; control methods; pest control; coral reefs; injections
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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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MDPI and ACS Style

Buck, A.C.E.; Gardiner, N.M.; Boström-Einarsson, L. Citric Acid Injections: An Accessible and Efficient Method for Controlling Outbreaks of the Crown-of-Thorns Starfish Acanthaster cf. solaris. Diversity 2016, 8, 28.

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