Widespread mass mortalities of the green sea urchin in Nova Scotia, Canada
- Cite this article as:
- Miller, R.J. & Colodey, A.G. Mar. Biol. (1983) 73: 263. doi:10.1007/BF00392252
Mass mortalities of sea urchins exceeding 84 000 t live weight or 2 900 t organic weight occurred during the autumns of 1980 and 1981 along the southern coast of Nova Scotia, Canada. The kill was nearly complete along 160 km of shoreline (straight-line distance) and was inter-mittent along another 280 km. Sea urchins in a variety of rocky habitats were affected, including areas exposed to and sheltered from ocean swell, with both dense and no macrophyte cover, and from 0–13 m depth. The cause of the mortalities was presumed to be a biological agent and was transferable in the laboratory. Colonization of the habitat by subtidal macroalgae and a subsequent large increase in benthic primary production is expected to follow.