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Longspine sea urchin

Centrostephanus rodgersii

We have been snorkelling at a site 300m NNE of Fortescue Bay boatramp for the past three years in March and April. Each year we have observed an incipient urchin barren. The photo attached does not show the barren. The barren does appear to be more barren (and the urchins more numerous) in the deeper waters of this area 4m+. I am unsure how extensive the barren is. It would be worth diving there to investigate this further.

Depth 4m
Centrostephanus rodgersii

About this species

Longspine sea urchins have undergone a southward climate-driven habitat expansion from New South Wales and have established in Tasmanian waters over the last few decades. Longspine sea urchins have a tendency in the absence of predation by large fish and rock lobsters to overgraze seaweeds and algae on rocky reefs. This grazing leads to what scientists describe as ‘barrens’ which equates to bare rock and a habitat devoid of life. Log in Tas waters only. Read more…

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