Student Project | Hidden Desert | Jinhan Wang & Ruilin Zhang

The abundance of seaweeds has been reduced 98% in Port Phillip Bay of central southern Victoria, Australia since 2003, and the number of sea urchins has quadrupled in the last 10 years. Turning the bare seafloor into a desert, which brought major problems and challenges to marine ecosystems and regional economies, and this phenomenon is known as the urchin barren.

The formation of urchin barren is caused by environmental damage, reduction of natural enemies of sea urchins, and natural disasters like storms, which cause the imbalance between sea urchins and seaweed populations. Followed by the decreasing of the population of seaweed, the biotope is left, until urchin barren

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