DENNIS ODA / DODA@STARBULLETIN.COM
A demonstration off Waikiki yesterday showed off Super Sucker Jr., a tool that sucks up invasive algae from coral and the ocean bottom to stop the spread of invasive algae species. Kaylyn McCoy held the hose and some of the invasive algae that was sucked up. CLICK FOR LARGE
Sportier algae eater premiers in Waikiki
Super Sucker Jr. can inhale algae with the best of them, but in shallow water and confined areas.
Junior debuted in Waikiki yesterday, where the device will be used to collect Gracilaria salicornia, or gorilla ogo, an invasive algae that kills coral reefs.
At 8 feet by 16 feet, Junior is about two-thirds the size of the original Super Sucker, which is being used to remove gorilla ogo from Kaneohe Bay. Junior's smaller size allows it to work in the shallower waters and tighter confines of Waikiki, said Brian Parscal, Super Sucker operations supervisor.
Parscal has been helping put Junior through sea trials for the past few weeks.
"And all indications are we have a winner here," he said. "It's very effective."
Junior's two pumps are smaller than the Sucker's single one. But Parscal believes Junior should be able to just about match Senior's ability to remove up to 800 pounds of gorilla ogo per hour.
The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service provided the $50,000 used to build Junior. The state Department of Land and Natural Resources' Aquatic Resources Division will maintain and operate it, with assistance from the Nature Conservancy and the University of Hawaii.
Dan Polhemus, Division of Aquatic Resources administrator, said an "itty bitty" sucker wheeled onto cargo aircraft is being built in Hilo, to be used in ponds there and on Molokai.