Bio4Climate: Giant Kelp as Feature Creature

Bio4Climate's Featured Creature this week is the illustrious Giant Kelp. Their article featured this 7-minute documentary (voiced by David Attenborough) about the biological and climate regulating role of kelp forests and the observable decline of these forests along the Scottish coast. To address this decline, U.K. marine-folk are shaking up the current trowler-traffic rules to push boats further offshore and promote the regeneration of native, wild kelp forests. 

Watch, enjoy, and share!

 

Excerpt from the Bio4Climate feature:

The rainforests of the ocean

 

Giant Kelp will grow in bunches where conditions are right, such as the west coast of North- America, forming underwater forests. These forests provide food and shelter for thousands of animals including sharks and bony fishes, invertebrates such as lobsters and squids, marine mammals such as seals and sea otters, and birds such as cormorants and snowy egrets. In turn, all of these animals help maintain balance in this ecosystem, as exemplified by sea otters who eat sea urchins - a notorious kelp eater. The sheer amount of biodiversity held within kelp forests has earned the algae its nickname, “rainforest of the ocean.”
 
Kelps feed creatures far away from their underwater forests as well. When pieces of the algae detach and end up on beaches, coastal-living animals take advantage of its many nutrients. Decomposing kelp finds its way to the bottom of the deep sea where creatures surrounded by darkness welcome the newfound treasure.
 
Animals also love Giant Kelp’s thick blades that provide a barrier between them and predators. This barrier comes in handy when storms occur, too, as they decrease the intensity of incoming waves and currents. In other words, without kelps, millions of individuals would suffer - including us humans. 

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