There are many places around the world where there are issues with overpopulation of both endemic and invasive sea urchin species. Generally, this leads to large mono populations of sea urchins that are known as ‘ sea urchin barrens’. These areas have reduced diversity, overall ecosystem production and reduced ecosystem services. There are many initiatives to remove the sea urchins and re-establish the macroalgae forest in the place of the sea urchin barrens . Along with developments in harvest technology and the possibility of ‘enhancement’ of some of the extracted sea urchins t here are initiatives to find a productive and economically viable use for the sea urchin biomass extracted from sea urchin barrens. In addition, there are approximately 700,000t of sea urchins harvested and processed every year around the world. The byproduct of this processing could also be used in various forms.
This presentation will summarise the results from three trials which have investigated various uses for sea urchin biomass. The first of these is to make a hydrolysis of the biomass to extract marine based protein powder. This trial identified some basic processes and chemical characteristics of the hydrolysis from sea urchin crush. The results are published and will be presented.
The second was a Master student project investigating the use of sea urchin crush as a nutrient source for macroalgae seedlings. This proved challenging, primarily in respect to bioavailability of nutrients to the seedlings. The results of this trial will be presented.
Finally, the third wa s to develop and use sea urchin crush as an agricultural bio stimulant for agricultural production. This involved two harvesting events from 4 sites close to Tromsø in northern Norway to characterize the biochemical content of the sea urchin crush and any changes that occur because of harvesting from different sites and at different times of the year. Additionally, a plant trial has measured the efficacy of the sea urchin crush as a natural bio stimulant. The results from these trials will be presented.
The work in this presentation was funded by the InEVal Project, funded through the Blue Bio Era Net call.