Friday, February 20, 2009

Two Videos: Sucking up Invasive Species, and Darwin Songs

This video shows conservationists literally vacuuming up invasive algae from coral reefs in Hawaii. The SuperSucker and SuperSucker Junior are modified versions of machines originally designed to dredge for gold, and they combine human power (SCUBA divers) with powerful vacuums to clean up 2,000-3,000 pounds (!!!) of alien algae per day.

Alternatively, want to watch really hip music video? Richard Milner, an academic with a musical bent, dresses up in period costume and sings about Darwin.


per7chelseam said...

I thought "sucking up invasive species" was really interesting. I was surprised to learn that the invasive algae could've been brought on the bottom of a ship. It seems like this could lead to problems for many different ecosystems because these ships are transporting foreign algae all over the world without even realizing it.
I also found it interesting that they used this evil algae as fertilizer in some farms. That is quite a clever way to get rid of it if you ask me! I can't believe that they collect thousands of pounds of algae everyday. I wonder if the algae is really dense or if it is made a lot heavier by absorbing water.
Its really neat that the fish start cleaning up the invasive algae after the "sucker" has gotten rid of a good portion of it. The biologist said that in one part of the reef, fish have been keeping the reef "algae-free" for almost three years, without anymore help from the "sucker." Its pretty amazing how nature can often bounce back with just a little boost from scientists and take care of itself. Keep it up fish!

Period 7 Valentina said...

chelsea made a really good point about the bottom of the ship, I guess they must clean that off too. I think it was a really good idea to do the cleaning by hand and not to try using more complex mechanisums.