Combining high-resolution modelling with graph theory tools to identify COTS epidemic hotspots in the Great Barrier Reef (iMarCo2016) [article]

Antoine Saint-Amand
2018 Figshare  
One of the most significant causes of reef decline in the Great Barrier Reef (GBR) is certainly the outbreak of Crown-of-Thorns Starfish (COTS), which feed on coral. COTS populations tend to boom very quickly causing devastation of entire reefs. Our goal is to evaluate the connectivity of COTS in the GBR in order to identify the epidemic hotspots. By using the high- resolution unstructured-mesh coastal ocean model SLIM we are able to simulate the complex and multi-scale currents with a spatial
more » ... nts with a spatial resolution of ~100m over the scale of the entire GBR. This model is coupled with a biophysical model of larval dispersal to track the position of virtual larvae of COTS. Connectivity matrices are then generated from the positions of the particles at the start and at the end of the simulations. Finally, we use graph theory tools such as community detection and "Google algorithms" (for e.g. PageRank and Influence Rank). This allows us to identify clusters of reefs strongly connected between each others and connectivity hotspots presenting the highest dissemination potential. Our results highlight the reefs that should be surveyed in priority in order to tame the outbreak in its early stages.
doi:10.6084/m9.figshare.5793735.v1 fatcat:gezy7ijvbnfejdnfs3h2kcb2oi