crown-of-thorns tagged posts

Starfish-culling robot is set to save GBR Coral

Crown-of-thorns starfish are having a devastating impact on the health of the Great Barrier Reef but a robot drone is set to track and kill them. RangerBot is a hunting machine that uses a hi-tech vision system to track and kill crown-of-thorns starfish (COTS), as well as monitoring reef health indicators like coral bleaching and water quality. The machine has been developed over the past ten years by roboticist Matthew Dunbabin in collaboration with Queensland University of Technology, Google and the Great Barrier Reef Foundation.

The deadly starfish pose a huge threat to the coral in the Great Barrier Reef. According to a report, published in the journal Nature, COTS outbreaks have a higher impact on reef health than coral bleaching and disease combined...

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Divers Remove Over 7,000 Deadly Starfish

clearing crown-of-thorns

During October and November the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation removed more than seven thousand (7,396) coral-eating Crown of Thorns starfish (COTS) from vulnerable reefs in the Maldives. Foundation scientists worked with divers from local resorts as part of the Foundation’s ongoing Starfish Control and Removal (SCAR) Program to protect reefs from the damaging effects of the coral-eating starfish.

According to Dr. Andrew Bruckner, Chief Scientist for the Khaled bin Sultan Living Oceans Foundation, “This was an uncommon opportunity for recreational divers, dive operators and local divers to take an active role in conserving the reefs they value.”

The timing of the projects was designed to protect any bleaching-resistant corals from predation in advance of a possible warming and...

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Aquatic robot seeks and destroys reef-killing starfish


On Australia’s Great Barrier Reef, the Crown-of-thorns starfish is the scourge of the deep as it eats and destroys large swathes of coral and threatens the overall health of the reef. This starfish is proving difficult to find and eradicate with conventional methods, so Queensland University of Technology researchers have created a hunter-killer robot – dubbed the COTSbot – that’s designed to automatically search out and destroy these aquatic pests.

Responsible for approximately 40 percent of the Great Barrier Reef’s total decline in coral cover, the COTS has been munching its destructive way for quite some time now...

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Crown of thorns appears in pristine parts of W Australia


The crown of thorns starfish which has devastated large areas of the Great Barrier Reef has infested areas around the Montebello Islands off the Pilbara coast.

Surveys going back to the mid-1970s have shown the existence of the marine invertebrates in the reefs off the Pilbara coastline. However, the numbers being currently observed are much higher than seen in previous years.

Dr John Keesing is the Senior Principal Research Scientist with the CSIRO in Perth and has recorded 185 animals per hectare.

“Above about 10 crown of thorns starfish per hectare will cause noticeable damage on coral reefs.” he told ABC Mid West and Wheatbelt.

Though the numbers are high in Western Australia, they are certainly not as high as those seen on the Great Barrier Reef.

For Dr Keesing, who began studying the...

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