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Further Investigations: Phylum Echinodermata

  1. Clam fisheries found that their clam beds were being eaten by sea stars. So they cut the predatory sea stars into pieces when they found them in the clam beds. But the numbers kept increasing. How was this possible? Using your knowledge of sea star regeneration, suggest alternative methods of reducing the problem of sea star predation on clam beds.
     
  2. Crown-of-thorns starfish (often abbreviated as COTS; Acanthaster planci) is one of the largest sea stars in the world. It is also well known as a voracious predator of corals. Sudden outbreaks or swarms of this one species can rapidly consume an entire coral reef. Use library and Internet resources to investigate recent research articles on the topic of crown-of-thorns starfish outbreaks on coral reefs. Where do these outbreaks occur? What impacts do they have on near-shore ecosystems? What causes these outbreaks? What management practices, if any, could be employed in response to COTS outbreaks?

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Exploring Our Fluid Earth, a product of the Curriculum Research & Development Group (CRDG), College of Education. University of Hawaii, 2011. This document may be freely reproduced and distributed for non-profit educational purposes.