Hope’s 100-meter coral reef restoration project now focuses on sea urchin conservation – CBS Miami

MIAMI (CBSMiami) – The Super Bowl may be over, but his environmental mission to save Florida’s coral reefs is still ongoing.

The 100 Yards of Hope Coral Reef Restoration Project honors NFL 100th season and U.S. military veterans.

READ MORE: Super Bowl LV NFL Green Week stretches across South Florida with coral reef restoration project

Veteran divers working alongside scientists from the Rosenstiel School of Marine and Atmospheric Science at the University of Miami, the Phillip and Patricia Frost Museum of Science and the Florida Department of Environmental Protection (FDEP) restore a coral reef of a length of football field in the waters. off Key Biscayne. This initiative to restore ‘Rainbow Reef’ includes restoring the wider ecosystem with sea urchins, sponges and other key organisms, as well as removing invasive species such as lionfish.

Long-spined sea urchins. (Source: Alliance for Ocean Research)

Long-spined sea urchins are essential for coral reefs to continue to thrive, but their population was devastated by an almost complete mortality event that swept across the Caribbean in 1982. Sea urchins were plentiful, at around 3 to 5 per square meter , but now it’s rare to see more than a single sea urchin on Florida coral reefs today.

READ MORE: Report: Florida’s coral reefs among the most damaged in the United States

In addition to grazing on algae, which can inhibit the colonization and growth of corals, sea urchins produce large amounts of eggs and larvae, providing food for other reef organisms.

This week 150 sea urchins were transferred to Rainbow Reef with the aim of improving the reef population and also helping the sea urchin population to grow.

NO MORE NEWS: Florida Lab Grown Star Coral spawns on the reef south of Big Pine Key

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