The purpose of this book is to provide an organized compilation of information and techniques for all aspects of the biology and management of the Acanthaster planci species. This extraordinary coral predator has greater effects on coral reef communities than any other animal species. It can cause mortality of hard corals over large areas and have indirect effects that extend through the trophic levels of the reef community. This volume features A planci as an animal with a unique combination of morphological, physiological, and life history characteristics that contribute to its potential for major ecological impacts. It provides detailed techniques for disparate aspects of research and management (e.g., raising the animal through all life history stages, calculating growth curves, and treating victims of spinings). Chapters cover methods for surveys, tagging, and control of A. planci, in addition to an assessment of the advantages and disadvantages of each method. The extensive subject index includes more than 1,000 references to A. planci and a BASIC program for estimating coral recovery after predation by the starfish. Acanthaster planci: Major Management Problem of Coral Reefs is an essential reference for all coral reef managers and researchers.
INTRODUCTION. An Extraordinary Species. Acanthaster planci in the Culture of Pacific Islanders. A Brief History of Public Awareness of Acanthaster. ACANTHASTER IN TIME AND SPACE. Taxonomy. Morphology. Geologic Record. Geographic Distribution of Acanthaster. Origin and Age of the Species. Population Densities of Acanthaster planci. LIFE HISTORY. General. Reproductive Biology of Acanthaster planci. Larval Biology. Juvenile Biology. Adult Biology. Physiology and Life History. ECOLOGICAL INTERACTIONS. Predation on Acanthaster. Pathogens and Symbionts of Acanthaster. Protective Associates of Corals. Protective Effects of Acanthaster planci on Coral-Reef Communities. Recovery of Coral Communities. Facilitating the Recovery Process. CONTROL PROGRAMS AND METHODS. Objectives. Previous Control Programs. Requirements for a Successful Control Program, Large or Small. Bounty, Volunteer, and Employed Control Teams. Methods for Small-Scale Control Efforts. Methods for Large-Scale Control Efforts. Should Acanthaster planci Be Controlled? POSSIBLE CAUSAL FACTORS for OUTBREAKS. REFERENCES. Apppendix I: BASIC Program for Coral Population Recovery. Appendix II: Subject Index