Badly Understood Starfish Causes Half of Great Barrier Reef Decline

(p. A9) BYRON BAY, Australia — The Great Barrier Reef is literally being eaten alive.
. . .
One study found that between 1985 and 2012, the reef lost an average of 50 percent of its coral cover. Starfish predation was responsible for almost half that decline, along with tropical cyclones and bleaching.
The cause of the outbreak is unknown. One hypothesis is that currents are bringing nutrient-rich water from the deep sea up into the shelf, which correlates with starfish larvae growth.
. . .
Coral reefs are constantly undergoing change, and they follow a cycle of death and renewal, said Hugh Sweatman, a scientist from the Australian Institute of Marine Sciences.

For the full story, see:
ISABELLA KWAI. “A Voracious Starfish Is Destroying the Great Barrier Reef.” The New York Times (Sat., JAN. 6, 2018): A9.
(Note: ellipses added.)
(Note: the online version of the story has the date JAN. 5, 2018.)

The academic study mentioned above, is:
De’ath, Glenn, Katharina E. Fabricius, Hugh Sweatman, and Marji Puotinen. “The 27-Year Decline of Coral Cover on the Great Barrier Reef and Its Causes.” Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America 109, no. 44 (Oct. 30, 2012): 17995-99.

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