Sea urchin explosion off California, Oregon decimates kelp - Sentinel-Tribune: News

Sea urchin explosion off California, Oregon decimates kelp

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Posted: Thursday, October 24, 2019 11:10 am

NEWPORT, Ore. (AP) — Tens of millions of voracious purple sea urchins that have already chomped their way through towering underwater kelp forests in California are spreading north to Oregon, sending the delicate marine ecosystem off the shore into such disarray that other critical species are starving to death.

A recent count found 350 million purple sea urchins on one Oregon reef alone — a more than 10,000% increase since 2014. And in Northern California, 90% of the giant bull kelp forests have been devoured by the urchins, perhaps never to return.

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