Monday, July 21, 2008

Hot & Cold News Round-Up

Echinoderm-related news is running hot and cold today......

Acanthaster planci: Fishing Bans Apparently Help Curtail Crown-Of-Thorns-Starfish Outbreaks (click here)

...New research suggests that fishing bans help control starfish outbreaks on the world's largest reef system.

Hugh Sweatman, of the Australian Institute of Marine Science in Townsville, Australia, used surveys of crown-of-thorns starfish on the Great Barrier Reef and overlaid them with the locations of no-fish zones.

Exactly how fishing bans reduce these outbreaks is not clear. Evidence that the protected fish control the starfish directly by eating them is scant, Sweatman said.

ore likely, he suggests, is that protecting fish causes a trickle-down effect.

Increasing populations of predatory fish reduce the numbers of bottom-dwelling fish such as wrasses, which eat invertebrates on the reef such as shrimp and worms. With fewer wrasses, invertebrate populations can swell -- and these creatures may be eating juvenile crown-of-thorns starfish and keeping outbreaks in check, Sweatman said.

2. Antarctic Biodiversity Suffers from Scouring Icebergs!
ScienceDaily (July 18, 2008) — Antarctic worms, sea spiders, urchins and other marine creatures living in near-shore shallow habitats are regularly pounded by icebergs. New data suggests this environment along the Antarctic Peninsula is going to get hit more frequently. This is due to an increase in the number of icebergs scouring the seabed as a result of shrinking winter sea ice. (original article here)

1 comment:

Jives said...

That's great news! Let's hope it's a success that can be replicated. The recent coral reef conference offered more dire warnings than hope.