The dreaded Acropora-eating flatworm, Amakusaplana acroporae, destroying an Acroporid coral. Bottom right are its eggs.
SPS lovers are all too familiar with the Acropora-eating flatworm (AEFW), which can destroy significant amounts of Acropora spp. corals before the infected tank is brought under control. This research aims to develop a better understanding of the AEFW’s life cycle in hopes of finding a better way to eradicate it from infected tanks.
What is unique about this project is it’s crowd-funded, very much like Kickstarter but for scientific research. If someone finds this research worthy of funding, they simply pledge money and if enough people pledge and the project meets its funding goal, the research is funded and the project can get underway.
The project is headed by Kate Rawlinson, a postdoctoral researcher from Dalhousie University in Halifax, Nova Scotia, Canada.
She would like to answer the following questions in this phase of the research:
- How long does it take for the eggs to hatch?
- Do they hatch as larvae or juveniles, or both?
- How long does it take for the worms to reach sexual maturity?
- How long can the newly hatched worms survive without food?
- How long can the adult survive without food?
Answering these five questions will help with out understanding of the AEFW and could be used to devise a protocol for its control and eradication.
Funds for the project will be spent on travel, laboratory equipment, and corals for research. Currently the research project has raised $1,839 of the $5,141 financial goal and there’s still 37 days left in the fund raising campaign.
Let’s see if we as a reefkeeping community can push the funding over the top! Head over to their project page on Microryza and pledge your support.