Naturalist: The decline of coral reefs has various causes. One contributing factor is predation on coral by organisms such as the crown-of-thorns sea star, whose preferred food source is coral polyps. Human fishing practices have decreased the sea star's predators, such as the harlequin shrimp. It is also possible that runoff containing nutrients for phytoplankton has resulted in larger phytoplankton blooms: the crown-of-thorns sea star gladly eats phytoplankton.

Indicate in the table which cause-and-effect sequence would most likely, according to the naturalist, result in coral reef decline. Make only two selections, one in each column.


  


Cause Effect
An increase in phytoplankton
A decrease in phytoplankton
An increase in crown-of-thorns sea stars
A decrease in crown-of-thorns sea stars
An increase in harlequin shrimp
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