Journal of Oceanography

, Volume 66, Issue 3, pp 435–438 | Cite as

Acanthaster planci outbreaks in Vanuatu coincide with ocean productivity, furthering trends throughout the pacific ocean

  • Peter HoukEmail author
  • Jason Raubani
Short Contribution


This study identifies linkages between regional ocean productivity and the emergence of large Acanthaster planci starfish populations in Vanuatu. Positive correlations were found between wind stress, chlorophyll-a, and upwelling during January–February 2009, corresponding with coral-eating starfish occurrences. Further, temporal associations have existed between monthly wind stress and upwelling since 2000, and were predictors of past starfish events. Links between starfish emergence and oceanographic features are discussed, drawing upon evidence from other asteroid echinoderms. High regional productivity associated with anomalous oceanographic conditions in Vanuatu, and globally, can be used as early warning indicators of probable, future starfish emergence to aid the foundation and success of local management efforts.


Acanthaster planci outbreak ocean productivity upwelling coral-reef management 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2010

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Pacific Marine Resources InstitutePMB 1156SaipanUSA
  2. 2.Vanuatu Fisheries DepartmentPMB 9045Port VillaVanuatu

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