How does kelp detritus move to deep fjords?

April 2, 2018

Our new KELPEX paper was just published in Oecologia! Check it out here.

In this manuscript we asked:

 

How is detritus transported from shallow kelp forests to deep fjord habitats?

 

 

We tackled this question using a combination of diving, drop camera transects, deep trawls and camera surveys from our deep sea cruise.

 

Our surveys showed that large amounts of kelp detritus enters deep regions beyond the kelp forests.

We used size measures of detritus in deep and shallow habitats to show that whole kelp blades (shed during spring) act as a short-term resource pulse transported over several weeks to the deep fjord.

 

 

We also tagged pieces of kelp, released them in the field and found that most of them moved slowly out of kelp forests and their transport speed was most dependent on wave exposure and substrate.

 

This is a strong step forward in understanding how kelp derived carbon is delivered to recipient communities. The tight resource coupling between kelp forests and deep fjords indicate that changes in kelp forests would propagate through to deep fjord ecosystems.

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Kelp export: fuel for adjacent communities in changing arctic ecosystems

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