UF-led research gets help from NFL player, Air Force veteran to restock sea urchins on coral reef

a sea urchin on a coral reef in the ocean

Don Hesley, UM Rescue a Reef Program

On and off over the past four decades, scientists have tried a handful of times to restore sea urchins on coral reefs because they eat harmful algae that otherwise smother the ecosystems.

Results of a new collaborative study show promise in urchin restocking strategies to aid coral reef restoration throughout the Caribbean.

“Once considered a nuisance, these formerly dominant urchins are now one of the most important pieces of the puzzle for restoring reefs, following decades of destruction,” said Aaron Pilnick, who led the research for his doctoral dissertation in the UF/IFAS College of Agricultural and Life Sciences.

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Brad Buck March 30, 2023