‘Janitors’ of the Sea: Overharvested sea cucumbers play crucial role in protecting coral

In a first-of-its-kind study, researchers at the Georgia Institute of Technology discovered that sea cucumbers — sediment-eating organisms that function like autonomous vacuum cleaners of the ocean floor — play an enormous role in protecting coral from disease. The problem is, they’ve been overharvested for more than 100 years, and they’re now rare.