Posted by: atomfullerene | October 4, 2007

Where little Urchins come from

I have been back from Maine for a while now, but I have one more post from my trip. We went to an aquaculture place where they raise sea urchins. I thought it was pretty neat, so here is a description of the place.

The urchin aquaculture is located in the back of an old salmon processing plant. It’s run by a fellow named Hank who has been doing aquaculture in northern Maine for years and years. Here’s a picture of him showing the weird planktonic stages of urchin larva.

diagram.jpg

The urchins live out their planktonic stage in these blue vats.

larvae.jpg

When they get a little bit older they are drained out through a filter and placed in these tanks, which have seaweed in baskets in them. The urchins settle out on seaweed in the baskets.

babys.jpg

You can’t see the urchins in there, they aren’t much bigger than the proverbial period at the end of the sentence. But give them time and food and they start growing. They get split up and moved to different baskets.

wee-urchin-hand.jpg

A lot of the grown urchins are housed in these stacks of troughs.

stacks.jpg

And that, my friend, is where baby urchins come from.

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Responses

  1. Where are these little guys sent? Are these the ones people buy for aquaria? Aren’t there some oceans where urchins are destroying other sea creatures at an unbalanced rate? Or is the other way around? Something related to starfish???
    Or maybe that was a bad dream.
    Thanks for your educational blogs – very interesting.

  2. Adam-I enjoyed your phone call the other day. Your blog is quite interesting. Your mom and Diane brought me to the library to view it. I think the pictures are real good! Have a good day…Love, Grandmother

  3. Hey, Atom,
    I always enjoy reading your blogs — I learn a lot!
    Looks like your trip to Maine was good — why were you wearing a long-sleeved shirt? (hee,hee,…) I’m with your mother and Grandmother. We just ate and then went to buy crickets — yum, yum!
    Thanks for the picture of the library. It really looks interesting.
    Hope everything is going well for you!
    Love, Aunt Diane

  4. Interesting. All i have to say is that i tried sea urchin once while eating sushi….nastiest thing i have ever tried. don’t try it

  5. These urchins are mostly sold to provide food for asian cusine and to be experimental animals. And yes, they do sometimes chomp through kelp at an alarming rate.


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