Sea urchins off Jamaica’s north coast appear to be making a comeback; furthermore, scientists discovered many young corals, including hardy and reef-forming types, thriving along with the sea urchins. The reefs have been struggling ever since a sea urchin species called Diadema antillarum died off dramatically in 1983 and 1984. Some species of sea urchins control the growth of seaweeds, which if left unchecked can devastate coral reefs. However, new studies show that Diadema has sprung back, and corals may be doing the same, and the recovery is the best news to emerge from Caribbean reefs in decades.
Sea creatures across the globe are being poisoned by tiny plastic pellets floating in the ocean. Chemical companies ship polymers in the shape of small pellets to manufacturers around the world that melt them and then mold them into plastic products. However, thousands of tons of these pellets pass into the sea from factory or city waste as well as from cargo that ships lose or jettison. Pellets contain high concentration of toxic chemicals that they absorb from the seawater –chemicals that damage animals’ immunity, fertility, and hormonal systems. Birds, fish, and turtles eat the pellets, mistaking them for fish eggs or other food, so there are worrisome repercussions for the extended food chain.