Sea Cucumber 'Poo' Crucial in Protecting Coral Reefs
Source: ABC Radio Australia
February 2, 2012
"Scientists have found that the humble sea cucumber can play an important role in protecting coral reefs from the impacts of climate change.
The research by a team from the University of Sydney has upset some Pacific nations where sea cucumbers or bche de mer is being over fished, sometimes to the point of local extinction.
Speaker:Professor Maria Byrne, Universtiy of Sydney
BYRNE: Sea cucumbers eat an enormous amount of sand, it's almost like the worms in your garden, they process sand through their body using all the nutrients that they need from them, but in the process they agitate the sediment and what we found what was really quite extraordinary what they release is of higher PH than what they take in. So they're actually increasing alkalinity, increasing the PH of the water immediately around the corals, and that's good for the corals and will work to protect the corals from ocean acidification, which is what is happening with climate change."
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