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Climate change impacts on the ecological dynamics of two coral reef species, the humphead wrasse (Cheilinus undulatus) and crown-of-thorns starfish (Ancanthaster planci)

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

Sonja R. Sill, Terence P. Dawson

Original languageEnglish
Article number101399
JournalEcological Informatics
Early online date23 Aug 2021
Accepted/In press11 Aug 2021
E-pub ahead of print23 Aug 2021
PublishedNov 2021

Bibliographical note

Funding Information: None. Publisher Copyright: © 2021 Elsevier B.V. Copyright: Copyright 2021 Elsevier B.V., All rights reserved.

King's Authors


This study investigates the hypothesis that climate change influences the distribution of the corallivore crown-of-thorns starfish Ancanthaster planci L. and one of its predators, the endangered humphead wrasse Cheilinus undulatus (Rüpell 1835). The aim is to provide a robust global distribution estimation examining the potential habitat gaps and overlays between the two species considering the predator-prey interaction. A single-parameter perturbation design with the species distribution model MaxEnt was applied to select the best performing model run for analysing the global and local trends in Indonesia based upon projected climate change under the IPCC RCP6.0 emission scenario. The paper represents the first global modelling study about the future distributions for both species by 2050. The simulations showed a slight decline of potential suitability for A. planci but gains for C. undulatus with a poleward shift for both. C. undulatus thrives under higher temperatures, whereas A. planci seems to be sensitive to increasing temperature in Indonesia. However, whilst future climate change is expected to benefit C. undulatus, the species remain highly vulnerable to (often illegal) fishing pressures and appropriate monitoring and management measures remain a priority to ensure their conservation in the long term.

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