Urchins on the move

Mr Mark Rodrigue1

1Parks Victoria, Melbourne, Australia


Sea Urchins play important roles as grazers in marine ecosystems but when occurring in large numbers they can also become a serious threat.

In eastern Victoria a massive increase in numbers of Black Spined Urchins (Centrostephanus rogersii), linked to a strengthening of the East Australian Current, has led to the extensive loss of kelp forests in many of the regions marine protected areas. In both South Gippsland and Port Phillip Bay the Purple Urchin (Heliocidaris erythrogramma) has altered reef and seagrass communities dramatically reducing available habitat for a range of other marine species.

As a participant in a number of adaptive management projects across the state Parks Victoria has been seeking how best to manage these overabundant native species within marine protected areas.

This presentation will provide an overview of these projects and some of the key learnings to date.


Mark is Statewide Leader – Marine and Coasts with Parks Victoria and has oversight of the state’s rich and diverse marine protected area system.

A marine and coastal specialist Mark has a passion for education, partnerships, and building community stewardship for protected areas through effective management.

He lives with his family in the coastal community of Barwon Heads and can often be found with his head underwater in the local marine sanctuary.