FW: More news from Florida

Precht, Bill Bprecht at pbsj.com
Sat Aug 11 11:05:04 EDT 2001


WILMINGTON, North Carolina, August 10, 2001 (ENS) - The first ever
laboratory raised sea urchins have been released on an experimental site at
Little Grecian Reef in a Florida Keys National Marine Sanctuary, in one of
the first attempts at restoring the health of Atlantic coral reefs.

The sea urchins are critical to coral reef renewal because they eat coral
smothering algae. The project is the first phase of an innovative research
effort on the part of scientists from two universities and a federal agency
who will next attempt to re-seed the reef with lab cultured coral larvae.


Tom Capo, director of the Experimental Fish Hatchery at the University of
Miami's Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science, has worked out
the life cycle of the sea urchin and is now working on mass culturing them
for restoration. The first batch of laboratory-raised juvenile sea urchins
was released last month at an experimental site on Little Grecian Reef.

A major concern is that fish and invertebrate predators will try to eat the
spiny youngsters, and the scientists need to learn the best way to
reintroduce them to ensure their survival. <end>

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