American Samoa’s thorny issue
Scientists in American Samoa are tacking an outbreak of crown-of-thorns starfish (Acanthaster planci), known locally as alamea, which live on the archipelago’s reefs and feed off of live stony corals.
Over the past two years, the local crown-of-thorns starfish population has exploded to outbreak levels. Similar outbreaks in the past destroyed essential fish habitat and caused negative long-term effects on local fisheries. Land-based pollution and the subsequent runoff of nutrients like nitrogen and phosphorus are believed to cause most outbreaks.
Visit oceanservice.noaa.gov/news/may15/crown-of-thorns.html to learn more about recent collaborative efforts to hold the crown-of-thorns starfish population in American Samoa at bay.