Before 1983, black sea urchins, Diadema antillarum, were one of the most prevalent species to be found on and nearby our St. John coral reefs.
The sea urchins survive by grazing the reef consuming the algae that grows on coral structures and reef substrates, serving an important function as they prevent the coral from being smothered by the fast growing algae and keep the rocks where new coral might grow clean.
In 1983, more than 97% of the sea urchins died throughout the Caribbean region extending as far south as South America and as far north as the Bahamas.
Following the spread of the die-off it was suspected that the cause of the problem was a disease that began when a ship coming from the Pacific passed through the Panama Canal and discharged water from its bilges.
Showers likely, mainly after noon. Partly sunny, with a high near 81. East northeast wind around 22 mph. Chance of precipitation is 60%. New precipitation amounts of less than a tenth of an inch possible.