Release of Hundreds of Thousands of Crabs to Help Florida’s Coral Reefs
SCIENTISTS TO BREED, RELEASE HUNDREDS OF THOUSANDS OF CRABS TO SAVE FLORIDA’S CORAL REEFS
Coral reefs around the world aren’t doing very well, in large part to warming ocean water temperatures. But another major problem for them is algae, and that is certainly the major issue threatening coral reefs in Florida. Coral reefs, of course, are important for a host of forms of sea life. But for Florida, they’re a major factor in protecting cities from Hurricane flooding. And massive overpopulations of algae are preventing coral reefs from growing, and could further threaten them as time moves on. So how do we help protect Florida’s coral reefs, sea life and Florida’s cities? One answer is the release of hundreds of thousands of Caribbean king crabs.
CARIBBEAN KING CRABS COULD HELP REPLACE ALL THE LOST ALGAE EATERS
Why crabs? Because crabs love eating algae, and a major boost to the crab population could possibly help reduce the size of algae overpopulations. And the algae overpopulations are a major problem now, both because algae love human waste (both sewage and farm runoff) which there is even more of in the waters now, and because the animals that eat algae have declined precipitously. 3 decades ago, something wiped out the longspined sea urchin population in the Caribbean, which eats a lot of algae. And overfishing over the years have nearly decimated the populations of algae-eating fish, like the parrot fish. So that means crabs to the hopeful rescue.
THE WORLD’S CORAL REEFS HAVE SEEN A 20% UPTICK IN ALGAE IN THE LAST DECADE ALONE
In just the last 10 years, the world’s coral reefs have seen a 20% increase in the algae covering them. In a literal visual sense, there are coral reefs that used to be a rainbow of vibrant colors, but now are a uniform green. In other words, they’re covered in algae, not growing, and at risk. So putting a population of animals that may thrive in the form of hundreds of thousands of crabs is a logical move to try to reverse the run amok scale of algae overpopulation. So now scientists are breeding a literal army horde of Caribbean king crabs to the hopeful rescue. But this may be an ongoing process of breed and release, especially if the Florida and Caribbean waters get dangerous heatwaves warming their waters every year.