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Crown-of-thorns starfish

A Thorny Problem

Acanthaster (the crown-of-thorns starfish) preys on coral polyps and, when numerous, can damage coral reefs. WHOI biologist Ann Tarrant collected this specimen at the Liquid Jungle Lab (LJL) in Panama and placed it in a tank to observe the behavior of small red crabs (visible on the coral) in its presence. In January 2011 Tarrant and biologist Jesús Pineda led a field ecology course at LJL for MIT-WHOI Joint Program students. (Photo by Jesus Pineda, Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution)


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