This is article is noteworthy because it presents a sustainable solution to issue plaguing the Great Barrier Reef. The reef, which from 1985 to 2012 has lost 50% of its total coral cover, and if the COTS population is not regulated the situation will only worsen. Also, because the starfish reproduce at an exponential rate – with one starfish having the ability to produce millions of offspring – there is a dire need to impede the population growth as quickly as possible.
Creating a fleet of robots is a far safer way to regulate the population is a far safer solution than say introducing an invasive species to feed off the COTS population. Bringing a new species to an alien environment has the potential to introduce a slew new problems to the ecosystem that are hard to predict because they have never been recorded there in the past.
The idea of an artificially-intelligent, poison-filled robot intrigued me. At first this struck me as the basis of some kind of dystopian sci-fi story, but after thinking further I realized how immense the potential for good these machines are. A robot is the perfect way to police a community and keep one population from upsetting the natural balance of power between species within an ecosystem. After watching the documentary on cane toads being introduced into Australia, I can see how much more stable of solution this article presents to combat extreme population growth.