You can never know too much about kelp

September 14, 2018

At least that is our opinion. And trust us, we are not biased in any way. This week the KELPEX team published a book chapter in 'World Seas: An Environmental Evaluation' on everything kelp. 

 

Here are some highlights: 

 

Kelp forests are stands of large brown seaweeds that create complex seascape structures. 

 

Kelps range along 25% of the world’s coastlines and are highly productive. The only other ecosystems that rival their productivity are tropical rain forests and wetlands. 

 

 

Many kelp forests a few decades from now will differ substantially from what they are today.

 

Threats to kelp forest ecosystems have increased in number and severity over the past half century, leading to a global decline of kelp abundances of ~2% per year! 

Kelp forests have changed in distribution, extent, composition and function in response to climate change, reduced water quality, harvesting and fishing over the past fifty years. Although the diversity of responses to these threats make it challenging to generalize about the future, these changes are expected to continue as the climate continues to change and human activities intensify.

 

Changes to kelp forests will likely have significant impacts on marine biodiversity and ecosystem functioning because kelps are foundation species for a plethora of habitat-associated plants and animals.

 

Some forms of management have been effective in restoring kelp forests, however in many cases the threats facing kelp forests in the future greatly exceed local conservation strategies, necessitating novel conservation solutions to protect and conserve these ecosystems. 

 

 

 

Send us an email if you would like to read our chapter!

thomas.wernberg@uwa.edu.au

 

 

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