Starfish-killing robot to protect Great Barrier Reef

Australian researchers have developed a robot capable of distinguishing crown-of-thorns starfish in coral reef ecosystems and killing the creature with a single shot of salt.  The robot, equipped with state-of-the-art computer vision and a machine-learning system, could play an important role in protecting Australia’s Great Barrier Reef from the creature, which is believed to be responsible for up to 40 per cent of the coral cover decline across the reef. The crown-of-thorns sea star (COTS), with its typical crown of venomous thorn-like spikes covering its upper surface, is one of the largest sea stars. It preys on coral polyps. A single starfish can consume up to six square metres of living coral reef per year. Conservationists fight against the species by sending human divers into COTS hotspots to inject the animals…


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