2 crown of thorns starfish on coral

Crown-of-thorns starfish

A whole-of-system approach to understanding and developing solutions for crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks on the Great Barrier Reef

Crown-of-thorns starfish are a major cause of coral loss on the Great Barrier Reef. The coral-eating starfish is native to the Indo-Pacific region; however, they can occur in plague proportions, consuming vast swathes of hard coral during outbreaks.

Crown-of-thorns starfish are one of several pressures facing the Reef. As pressures from climate change increase, and reef disturbances become more frequent creating less time for the Reef to recover, there is an urgency to manage coral loss factors amenable to regional management, such as starfish outbreaks. 

AIMS research takes a whole-of-system approach to COTS outbreaks on the Great Barrier Reef. Our science assists Reef managers with the data and tools to understand the outbreaks, identify the causes and develop and implement effective tools to help control their numbers.