Scientists are building a crab army to save Florida's dying coral reefs

The crabs eat the algae that has been killing coral in the region.

Scientists are building a crab army to save Florida's dying coral reefs
Photo by Vincent van Zalinge / Unsplash (Likely not the same species – but still very much a crab on a mission, wouldn't you say?) 

Here's a cool story: scientists in Florida are breeding Caribbean king crabs to eat the algae that has been spreading through the region killing coral reefs.

According to this Vox article, the crabs are a native and apparently delicious species that exist in low numbers in the area because everything keeps eating them. 😆 The algae they're being bred to combat has been spreading since an unknown pathogen wiped out algae-eating long-spined sea urchins across the Caribbean, as well as a general decline of other algae-eating species due to fishing and other causes.

Scientists have been releasing the crabs into test environments and say the crab-filled reefs now have 85% less algae. More healthy coral, less algae, more tasty crustaceans? Sounds like a win to me! Here’s hoping the increased crab populations will have the desired effect of protecting the reefs and helping the ecosystem thrive. 🦀🤞

(Aaaand now in a completely off-topic sort of way I'm suddenly reminded of how life keeps evolving into crabs. Weird, right?!)

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