Strongylocentrotus purpuratus: The purple sea urchin. The sea floor near the northern California cost is now made up of a carpet of these creatures. There are so many that they have eaten most of the kelp that used to populate coastal waters. The starfish that used to keep these urchins in check were wiped out by a wasting disease. That allowed the urchins to wildly reproduce. Some industry has popped up to scoop these urchins out of the ocean and sell them to consumers who fancy the taste of urchin. Will that bring balance back to the ocean?
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