Urchin Gonad Response to Kelp Forest Restoration on the Palos Verdes Peninsula, California


Overpopulation of purple sea urchins (strongylocentrotus purpuratus) has caused “urchin barrens” impacting red sea urchin (mesocentrotus franciscanus) gonad production, a high-value sushi product important to fisheries. Destructive purple sea urchin grazing is also the leading cause of kelp deforestation in the world and has multi-trophic level impacts on species’ use of kelp forest habitat resources. Kelp restoration efforts involve removing purple sea urchins, and this study examines how red sea urchin gonad biomass production responded to culling purple sea urchins for restoration in the Palos Verdes Peninsula.