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Photo of the Week

Featuring images from the Marine Photobank, these Photo of the Week stories highlight ocean issues as well as the ability of visual media to promote ocean conservation. Would you like see one of your images as a Photo of the Week? Please become a contributing member of the Marine Photobank and let your photos work on behalf of the ocean.

A Prickly Situation

Crown-of-thorns seastar
Stacy Jupiter/Marine Photobank

One of the many threats facing coral reefs in the Asia Pacific region are outbreaks of the venomous crown-of-thorns seastar, pictured here in Fiji’s Samu Reef. These voracious coral predators slowly crawl over reefs, consuming all the living coral tissue they can reach, often leaving only the white calcium carbonate skeleton behind. Recently, for example, large tracts of the Tubbataha Reef in the Philippine’s Sulu Sea, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site because of its high biodiversity and ecological importance, were being devastated by dense crown-of-thorns aggregations. The exact cause of these outbreaks is unclear. Seastar removal by hand may be necessary for reef protection.

Read more:
Zoological Studies
State of Hawaii Website