University of Tasmania: Long-Spined Sea Urchin

IMAS scientists have conducted research on Centrostephanus and associated barrens along the Tasmanian coast for more than seventeen years. The presence of Centrostephanus in Tasmanian waters is a result of warming waters along the East Coast and represents a range extension for this species from mainland Australia. The urchin can have devastating impacts on reefs due to overgrazing which creates expansive urchin barrens. This results in negative impacts on kelp beds and reef dependent species such as abalone, rock lobster and fish.

IMAS conducts research to understand urchin ecology and impacts. This includes surveying urchin populations and barren extent, trials of control measures such as culling and enhanced natural predation (by rock lobsters), and assessment of the wild harvest fishery and increasing profitability of urchin fisheries.

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