sea urchin Marco Busdraghi Sea Urchins Put To Test in Cleaning Up Algae

Sea urchin - By: Marco Busdraghi

The coral reefs off of Hawaii are being smothered by tons of algae, and efforts have been made to help solve this dilemma. The answer comes from an unlikely source.. Sea Urchins. Sea urchins, commonly known as the “cows of the sea”, are being used along side a new underwater vacuuming system aptly named the “Super Sucker” in an attempt to finally start getting the algae off the reef and get them healthy again.

Researchers from the state Department of Land and Natural Resources Division of Aquatic Resources are pleased to announce that the project has been a success, as it has been using sea urchins alongside the Super Sucker for the past year in Kaneohe Bay.

“It exceeded our exectations,” Tony Montgomery, a state aquatic biologist commented. “It actually worked better than we thought.”

The project began in August of last year, where divers were manually removing the offending algae from the reef. Once harvested, the algae was then sucked up using the super sucker.. On another part of the reef however, a bunch of sea urchins were left to do their business. The results were that these cows of the sea were quite the eating machines. While the project is being deemed a success there is still a lot of algae to be removed, and Montgomery is remaining casually optimistic. “We will see how they do with thousands of pounds of algae to eat,” He said.