Main Article Content
Red sea urchins (Mesocentrotus franciscanus) are kelp-associated ecosystem engineers found in rocky habitats throughout the North Pacific from Baja California, Mexico, to Japan. Red sea urchins depend on kelp detritus, herein ‘drift’, for nutrition; in open coast locations (e.g., California) sea urchin abundance declines precipitously with depth outside the kelp forest owing to a lack of drift and habitat. In the Salish Sea, a region of the Northeast Pacific characterized by steep, glacier-carved rocky reefs, red sea urchins have been reported to 125 m depth. Considering the natural history of this species, we predicted red sea urchins could be found deeper than 125 m in areas with hard substrate and abundant drift. We paired submersible and scuba transects to search for deep red sea urchins and quantified availability of drift to sea urchins from the mesophotic (290 m) to macrophyte zones (90% of rocky shorelines in the Northeast Pacific from Baja California to Alaska, suggesting a major portion of the red sea urchin’s habitat, and natural history, remains to be explored.
Copyright of the articles published are transferred from the authors to CIENCIAS MARINAS. The authors retain proprietary rights other than copyright, and the right to use all or part of their articles in future works of their own. Los derechos de autor de los artículos se transfieren de los autores a CIENCIAS MARINAS. Los autores se reservan los derechos de propiedad excepto los derechos de autor, y el derecho de utilizar todo o parte de sus artículos en sus trabajos futuros.