Sheephead-Sea Urchin and Kelp Wood Cut

The beautiful Male California Sheephead is depicted amongst the straggly Kelp that the Sea Urchins are heartily devouring.

All life is connected. When one species is off balance it continues a chain of irregularities.
Naturalists have noted – The areas of diminished kelp. The reduction in size of the Big Male Sheephead (which eats sea urchins) and the abundance of Sea Urchins devouring the Kelp. 
Some Sheephead are commercially harvested, but recreational anglers mostly fish it. Practicing catch and release (especially of the Big Males) helps to relieve pressure off the species. 
Sheephead are a unique fish. They live in coastal shore communities…and are Hermaphrodites. They all begin life as a female. As needed, they will turn into males to continue the species. When over fished, smaller females transform into male to make up for the lack of males. Thus – smaller males overall. The big males seem to have the best control of the sea urchins.
This artwork is part of the Pacific-ly Project