DV-08-012 Enhancing the survival of seeded early juvenile green sea urchin

Doug McNaught
Assistant Professor of Marine Ecology

Science 117
University of Maine at Machias
9 O’Brien Ave.
Machias, ME 04654

After a rapid boom-and-bust in the 1990s, the Maine sea urchin fishery continues to rely on a depleted resource, especially in southern Maine. Without urchins, many areas became colonized with kelp and other macroalgae, which harbor predators of newly-settled phases of green sea urchins. Because of the increased mortality, sea urchins are not recovering in these areas.

Researcher Douglas McNaught and a team of undergraduate students at the University of Maine at Machias have developed and successfully tested techniques to raise green sea urchins from spawning, through larval stages, and into early juvenile stages within a laboratory environment. In July 2009, an estimated 10,000 juvenile urchins were transplanted into the field for further testing. The experimental design included replicate plots, caging of various mesh sizes, and stocking urchins at different densities. Sea Grant funds supported SCUBA divers, ship time, and some equipment. This award leveraged an MEIF-Small Campus Initiative Grant from the University of Maine System.

Total: $2,400