Monday, August 13, 2007

Ocean vacuum cleaner saves corals from algae

If there's something strange
in your neighborhood
Who ya gonna call?

If there's something weird
and it don't look good
Who ya gonna call?

And in this case the algaebusters come equipped with a giant algae vac that sucks smothering algae mats off of coral reefs.

It's one of those sounds good ideas that might come from an 8 year old, but it actually works. It's being used in Hawaii to remove a nasty invasive algae called "gorilla ogo" from coral reefs. Compare before the super sucker vacuum hits the algae (lower picture) and after vacuuming the reef (upper picture).

There is an overfishing connection, algae-eating fish used to keep corals clean but overfishing has ended this free algae-busting service.


Up Welng said...

this super vacuum has been generating a buzz on the islands and offers some hope to areas that are shifting to algal dominance... though the overfished grazers are just one culprit... the untold volumes of pineapple fertilizer and golf course nutients that flow into offshore waters and lead to eutrophication are enough to defeat even the hungriest grazers under ideal population sizes...

Anonymous said...

Looking for one on e-bay and can't find one. Maybe I'll try craigslist.

Kidding aside, great solution.

Flow said...

From the original article:

""The algae invasion poses the largest current threat to the health of reefs in Hawaii," said Cynthia Hunter, a marine biologist at the University of Hawaii."

I had no idea! Where is this invasive species from? Are ballast waters to blame?