2022 Featured Stories


How Can the National Coral Reef Monitoring Program Help Understand Long-Spined Sea Urchin Die-Offs?

Close-up shot of a black sea urchin with long, protruding spines being held with tongs over a tank of water with pipes across it.

The Caribbean may be facing a widespread die-off of sea urchins. Diadema antillarum, also known as the long-spined sea urchin, is one of the most important herbivores on Caribbean coral reefs because they eat algae, reducing algal overgrowth on the seafloor, which in turn provides reef area for coral growth. Diadema antillarum previously experienced a massive die-off throughout the Caribbean in the 1980s. In February 2022, scientists learned of extensive Diadema antillarum die-offs in St. Thomas, U.S. Virgin Islands (USVI).


Independent survey data improves management of Caribbean queen triggerfish

Yellow and blue fish with green colored water in the background.

Queen triggerfish is a Caribbean reef fish that is harvested by local fishermen and sold to restaurants and fish markets throughout the islands. Due to this demand and its importance to coral reef ecosystems, this fishery is managed in the U.S. Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) through a Fishery Management Council as established through the Magnuson-Stevens Fishery Conservation and Management Act.



Madyson Miller: The Coral Program's 2022 Knauss Fellow

reef monitoring

In February, we welcomed our 2022 Knass fellow, Madyson Miller. Madyson was sponsored by Puerto Rico Sea Grant and holds a master's degree in marine and environmental science from the University of the Virgin Islands (UVI).