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The Green Life: Dive into Spring Cleaning

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April 30, 2009

Dive into Spring Cleaning

Reef Invasive algae species pose a serious threat to the biodiversity of Hawaii's coral reefs. But this spring, scientists from the Nature Conservancy, the University of Hawaii, and Hawaii's Department of Land and Natural Resources are diving straight into clean-up efforts with a vacuum in hand.

Using the "Super Sucker," divers feed invasive algae into a tube that's attached to a suction pump. The pump sucks invasive algae onto an ocean barge, where sorters separate it from any native species that went along for the ride. Native species are returned to the coral reef habitat and the algae--3,500 pounds of which is collected daily--is used by local farmers to enhance the quality of their soil. Who knew that spring cleaning could make for a bountiful fall harvest?

--Melissa Weiss

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