Green Sea Urchin
Green sea urchins can be found both the Atlantic and Pacific Oceans. In the Pacific Ocean, they are found from northern Washington State to Alaska, and in the Atlantic Ocean from New Jersey to the Arctic. Green urchins live in rocky substratum of the intertidal zone at depths of 10 m; although they can be found down to 1,200 meters. They move by using their spines and hundreds of miniature tube 'feet' located under their body, which have tiny suction cups to grip surfaces.
Green sea urchin are the shape of a slightly flattened globe and are covered in short, sharp, movable spines. This species can be pale green, or greenish tinged with purple or brown on their spines. Their mouth is located on the underside of the body and they feed by scraping fine algae off of hard substrate with their teeth. Green sea urchins are generally harvested for their gonads, which are known as "uni" in sushi restaraunts.
Sea urchins reproduce in the early spring, when both males and females release their eggs or sperm directly into the water column at the same time to ensure fertilization. Once fertilized, the gamete grows through the process of mitosis and eventually become larvae capable of simple swimming. After a period of time, the larvae swim to the appropriate surface, where they attach, and through a complex metamorphosis process, they form into their adult sea urchin form on the ocean floor.
Sea Urchin by Dive
Urchins are harvested in shallow sub-tidal areas by SCUBA divers utilizing a hand held rake and net bag for collection.