• The Loss of Reef Urchins

    Posted on May 12th, 2017 Chris Knight No comments

    This is a cross post from Dr. Richard Norris on facebook who, along with Dr. Katie Cramer, have recently produced a short film documenting their very cool research on the relationship between urchins, damsel fish, and human exploitation on the coral reefs of the Caribbean:

    “Here’s a new video on work that Katie Cramer and I have done on the tangled interactions between urchins, fish, algae and reef heath in the Caribbean Mesoamerican Reef. We tracked the abundance of long-spined urchins over 3000 years to understand their role in reef health. The surprise was to discover that human over-fishing, encouraged the growth of algae-farming damsel fish, who compete with algae-grazing urchins. The resulting bloom of algae has contributed to reef die-off in recent years… Turns out we need those top predators after all…similar to the links between wolves and stream vegetation in Yellowstone, and Orcas and kelp in Alaska.”

     

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