[Coral-List] Diadema

Szmant, Alina szmanta at uncw.edu
Tue Jun 13 08:01:43 EDT 2006

Hi Les:
For the record, National Seagrant funded us in 2000 (Szmant ,Tom Capo and Margaret Miller co-PIs) to develop the techniques for mass rearing of  Diadema for restoration purposes (together with mass rearing of coral larvae, a combination we proposed to be an attempt at ecological restoration of damaged reef sites).  Tom was able to rear ca. 1000 Diadema from lab spawn and tested a range of temperatures, salinities and larval densities along the way, but had difficulty in the settlement stages.   The lab reared Diadema in the 1 to 2 cm diameter size range that we outplanted in our experiments were for the most part rapidly eaten by reef dwelling predators (as were many of the adult we tranplanted from inshore areas to offshore Florida reefs).  It was frustrating to see the babies eaten after all that work raising them.  Margaret and I gave up hope for any major breakthroughs with that approach unless many orders of magnitude more Diadema could be reared, and also as we saw slow but steady recoevry of the species throughout the Caribbean.  We didn't try to get any additional funding for this effort.  In La Parguera PR baby urchins can be found all over the place in shallow water and are working their way down the reef slope.  The reefs are so overfished it may make it easier for Diadema to recover there.
I have ca. dozen of the lab spawned Diadema living in my aquaria at UNCW as lab pets for the past 5 years, and they are doing well.  I gave a few to the Discovery Museum in Charlotte NC for their reef tank.  It will be interesting to see how long these guys can live.
Dr. Alina M. Szmant
Coral Reef Research Group
UNCW-Center for Marine Science 
5600 Marvin K. Moss Ln
Wilmington NC 28409
Tel: (910)962-2362 & Fax:  (910)962-2410
Cell:  (910)200-3913
email:  szmanta at uncw.edu
Web Page:  http://people.uncw.edu/szmanta


From: coral-list-bounces at coral.aoml.noaa.gov on behalf of Les Kaufman
Sent: Mon 6/12/2006 3:03 PM
To: coral-list at coral.aoml.noaa.gov
Subject: Re: [Coral-List] Diadema

Assembled masses:

Tom Capo at the RSMAS hatchery on Virginia Key is the guy, I believe 
the first guy, to develop replicable methods to rear Diadema 
antillarum.  I don't know when you got involved in this Martin,
but the effort I know of previous to Tom was by Bob Carpenter who 
managed to pull one individual through to juvenilehood at the old 
West Indies
Marine Lab on St. Croix many years ago.  At the time that was a 
tremendous accomplishment.

Tom embarked on Diadema husbandery in part to help Alina Szmant, Judy 
Lang and I, who chipped in- again many years ago but much later than 
Carpenter's enterprise-
to  encourage him.  Largely out of the goodness of his heart, Tom 
succeeded admirably and supplied experimental work by Alina and her 
lab, by my then grad
student Jamie Bechtel in my lab (Jamie is at Conservation 
International now), and who knows who all else.   We had visions of 
Diademaplums dancing in our heads, and
at one point hoped to repopulate the Caribbean.  The problem was, 
nobody seemed interested in paying for it.  They preferred to wait.  
And wait.  And...  I guess to a limited
extent they've been proved right, but waiting was no fun and the end 
results are still not very satisfactory.

So, with deference to all who've tried and failed
and those with the gumption to try again
Let's tip our hat to Tom, who nailed
the spiny beast, our hope and bane.

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