Urchin invaders exposed!
Longspined Sea Urchins (Centrostephanus rodgersii) were once rare outside NSW, but warming waters and a strengthening East Australian Current have seen them extend their range south, causing devastation to sections of Tasmania’s east coast reefs.
A new exhibition at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies in Salamanca tells the story of these urchin invaders – the problem, the science and the solution. Here you can discover the research that will prevent urchin barrens forming and allow our reefs to thrive again.
Creating public awareness of the impact of urchins on the abalone industry is important to increase the public’s knowledge about our marine habitat and the impacts of warming waters and to help secure further funding and aid in the implementation of control measures.
“Our main audience are people that probably have no idea what a long-spined sea urchin (centrostephanus rodgersii) is, or the impact it is having on our marine environment. We hope this will raise awareness that there is a problem under the sea.” said Dr John Keane, the project lead for this exhibition. John is a Research Fellow at the Institute for Marine and Antarctic Studies, University of Tasmania, and leading on three other important projects for the AIRF, to understand and tackle the long-spined sea urchin problem.
With the COVID-19 lockdown, the exhibition is currently a ‘window-shopping’ experience but will be officially launched when restrictions are lifted. When launched, visitors can immerse themselves in the urchin story and understand what’s being done to control this invasive species, see live urchins and take a virtual dive over urchin barrens, and more.
Urchins beware… we’re coming for you!