Widespread mass mortalities of the green sea urchin in Nova Scotia, Canada
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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.
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