Friday, June 17, 2011

Super Sucker

Notes on the history of the Super Sucker and HIMB
Based on an interview with Dr. Eric Conklin.

The super sucker operation has always been based out of HIMB. The original experimental use of the device was on the leeward reef of Coconut, with HIMB graduate students (Eric Conklin and others) measuring the effectiveness of the removal and what happened subsequently (which is that the algae did not come right back). The barge was originally built by TNC and staffed by UH Botany funding. It has subsequently transitioned to largely DAR operated, with some involvement of TNC and UH.

The very first research conducted on urchins as biocontrol was conducted by HIMB researchers (led by Dr. John Stimson). Based on the proof of concept that he and several graduate students assembled, UH Manoa got funding to try urchin culture. It started off very small scale in the lab, but then moved out to HIMB where the first large-scale culture was attempted in the boat house. When technical difficulties arose, it was  moved to the Maturation Lab, and then were beset by more technical difficulties. Then DAR took up the cause with large-scale culture at AFRC, and that’s been a huge success. HIMB facilities may yet have more of a role to play, either in grow out of juvenile urchins, or in other ways as the role and methodologies of seaweed control continue.

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