[Coral-List] Long Spine Urchin

Martin Moe martin_moe at yahoo.com
Sun Jun 11 11:49:16 EDT 2006

Hi Steve,

Sorry I didn't get back to you sooner, busy week... 

Thanks for the info on your situation and location,
must be nice down there, that is when the hurricanes
stay away.

The aquatic world has changed so much in the last few
decades, it's hard to believe how much. 

I've attached the abstract and an appendix from the
report on the Diadema replacement experment that Ken
Nedimyer and I did here in the Upper Keys. You will
find it of interest.

I think in your area the Diadema urchins would breed
almost year round. A large healthy female can produce
somewhere between 10 and 20 million eggs per spawn and
they might spawn once or twice a month... Don't know
for sure, the literature is not clear on this and
there is probably a lot of variation. I think it would
be worth while to concentrate them if possible. This
would do two good things, 1. enhance the survival of
the spawn of the breeding colony and 2. improve the
ecology (less algae, more coral) of that specific reef
area. Certainly the spawn of the urchins would be more
successful and if the location of the reef is in an
area where currents can carry the larvae to areas
where they can settle and survive, it will help
increase the numbers of Diadema urchins in that broad
area. I would choose a section or patch of reef that
is special in some way, one that is really worth
preserving and concentrate the urchins on that site.
The least that that would do would be to enhance coral
growth, settlement and survival at that specific site,
which seems like it would certainly be worth doing.

Be very careful in moving the urchins, don't injure
them, always keep then in water (except for brief
movement from one net or container to another, try to
keep them in nets as this will minimize tearing off
the tube feet that have attached to a smooth surface,
such as the inside of a plastic cooler. Move only a
few at first to make sure that your methods are safe
and that they will continue to survive for a week or
so at the new location. Make sure that they have found
a secure place in the rock/coral structure of the new
location before you leave them. Choose a location that
as rugose as possible, a lot of structure with caves
and holes where they can find shelter.

There are a number of people and institutions that are
working with coral propagation, and in conjunction
with the Mote Marine Laboratory I am working on
propagation of Diadema. I'll pass your information on
to others and maybe something will come of it. You
might subscribe to the online Coral List, a lot of
good information on coral reefs develops here from
some of the most active and knowledgeable coral reef
scientists in the world on that site. In fact, I'll
copy this email to the coral list and perhaps you'll
hear from some coral reef scientists that can give you
additional advice on how you can help your particular
environment. I'll have to remove the attachment,
however, but I'll send it in a second email.

(Bill, I sent him the paper you and Richard wrote on
Death and resurrection of Caribbean coral reefs)



--- WAVES2222 at aol.com wrote:

> Hi   
> Thank you so much for  answering, and the paper that
> you sent is eye opening 
> to say the least and  everything in it is exactly
> what is happening here. 
> I do not know if you  know the island of Utila, as I
> said we are in the Bay 
> Islands of Honduras, the  next island to us most
> people have heard of, Roatan. 
> Let me give you a  little more info about us we are
> approx 18 miles from the 
> mainland of Honduras,  only really the south side of
> Utila is inhabited, where 
> my resort is approx 1 to  1.5 miles from the small
> town we have here. 
> The north side of the  island is part of the Meso
> American reef which comes 
> to us after Belize, apart  from our reefs the other
> main attraction we have are 
> our Whale Sharks which pass  by the north of the
> island. 
> I am not a marine  biologist as I said I am just a
> business person here on 
> the island, yes of  course I have a business
> interest in keeping our reefs well 
> but apart from that  I am a fanatical diver and love
> the ocean, I have done 
> over 5,000 dives on this  island alone and dive most
> days. 
> Stories from the past  here on the island show what
> it was like not to many 
> years ago, my boat captain  who is in his 50’s
> remembers when he was a teenager 
> fishing from a small paddle  boat in the harbor and
> falling in and having 2 
> large Hammerheads around him  instantly, the light
> house here on the outside of 
> the harbor used to be light by  hand, no one wanted
> the job as the person who 
> had to paddle out to light it was  always bumped by
> sharks, we never see 
> sharks nowadays around the island on the  reefs at
> all, an occasional Nurse shark 
> but that is about it, since I have been  diving here
> I have only seen a 
> handful of sharks on the  reef. 
> Again because of over  fishing, the lobsters have
> also disappeared;  from old 
> stories there was a  huge abundance of them. 
> I know that this is  not just us, we are still very
> lucky that we have some 
> very good coral here but  this is where my concern
> really starts, on the south 
> of the island we are  getting more and more algae
> and of course we feel that 
> it is stopping the new  growth of coral as every
> inch is covered. 
> This we believe is due  to the lack of urchins and
> of course the lack of 
> herbivorous fish, I do not know  if we will ever be
> able to reverse the situation 
> but I would like to know that I  have tried
> everything I can. 
> So any information you  can send that may help, I
> would really appreciate. 
> Also specific  information that you may be able to
> help me with or advise me 
> who I could  contact. 
> Question  like, 
> How often do urchins  breed? 
> As we have not enough  is it worth trying to
> congregate them in an area so 
> they would have more  breeding success and then
> redistribute them? 
> Have they ever been  ‘’farm’’ bred is this a
> possible way to repopulate? 
> Or if anyone has some  suggestions I would love to
> hear them. 
> Another thought I had  is that I have some small
> amounts of money to use to 
> try and help projects like  this, I have the ideal
> location, my resort is on 
> the beach with the reef only 50  yards away, I have
> boats to get to other parts 
> of the island and I have  accommodation, do you know
> is there anyway I could 
> for an association with a  Marine Biology department
> of a college or University 
> that would like to send  people here to get
> ‘’Field Experience’’  but not 
> just for one trip perhaps a  constant presence to
> help and advise us on this, I 
> have no idea I am just  throwing up ideas and
> hopefully one will come to 
> fruition at some  stage. 
> We are also trying to  regrow some Staghorn coral
> but we are finding at the 
> moment that the algae is  suffocating it so fast, we
> have had limited success. 
> Sorry for my long rant  here, as I said it is just I
> am passionate about the 
> oceans and I really want to  do something to help. 
> Steve Fox 
> Life's  an Adventure Dive In.
> All Inclusive Beach Front  Dive Resort 
> Whale Shark Specialists of the Caribbean
> PADI 5 STAR Gold  Palm Instructor Development Centre
> Email: _Steve at DeepBlueUtila.com_
> (mailto:Steve at DeepBlueUtila.com)  
> or _Waves2222 at aol.com_ (mailto:waves2222 at aol.com)  
> Websites:
> _www.DeepBlueUtila.com_
> (http://www.deepblueutila.com/)   
> _www.UtilaWhaleSharkResearch.com_
> (http://www.utilawhalesharkresearch.com/)   
> Telephone
> Shop: (504) 425  3211
> Cell: (504)916 8290
> Fax: (504) 425  3211
> E Fax: (801) 286 9482
> From the USA you will  need to dial 011 before the
> above numbers except e Fax

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