Split Fan Kelp has a smaller structure and shorter stipe, where the attached fronds fan out in all directions. The split fan kelp is most prevalent in deeper waters and usually totals three feet tall.
Like all marine ecosystems, kelp forests face the challenge of ever-changing ocean conditions and rising temperatures. However, kelp forests respond differently to climate change and anthropogenic threats, as some struggle while others thrive.
An essential factor in Kelp ecosystems is herbivore grazers. If there is a sudden increase in one of these herbivores (urchins, snails, abalone, etc.), the growth of the forest can come to a halt. Likewise, if there is a depletion in an important herbivore, a Kelp forest ecosystem will quickly become out of balance.
When multiple Kelps break loose, it is typical for them to float to the surface and bind together, creating "rafts". These rafts can home numerous species and travel great distances (contributing to non-native species introduction).
If in ideal conditions, which usually comprise cold and nutrient-dense waters, some kelp species can grow up to 45 metres in total length and up to 45 centimetres per day.
The kelp and comprising fronds are talented wave action mediators. When stormy weather and turbulent waves close to shore, the kelp and fronds' robustness generates drag and diminishes the waves' power.
Sharks, skates, and rays benefit from their highly developed electroception senses. Therefore, this ray and shark likely detect electrical pulses in this very shot.
These sea forests sustain and are home to countless marine mammals (including sea birds, sea otters, and seals), invertebrates (such as brittle stars, crabs, and urchins), and fish species (like Leopard sharks, Hottentots, and Rockfish).
Sting rays are related to sharks owing to similar features, such as their absence of bones. Although rays don't have sharp teeth, they still ‘chew’ prey with their dermal denticles (the equivalent of teeth).
In some cultures, seaweed has been used to predict the weather. Legend has it that if you hang a dried-out piece of seaweed outside, the level of moisture it soaks up will determine whether or not and how soon it will rain.
Unlike terrestrial plants or large forest trees, Kelps do not form root systems. Instead, they have a structure that anchors them to the sea floor called a holdfast. The holdfast is a sturdy weave of kelp tissue that homes many of its own critters.
Kelp forests dwell in shallow depths and are not found in deeper waters due to their dependence on the sun, which facilitates the fundamental process of photosynthesis.
In historic Celtic cultures, people often burned seaweed to deter a fearsome and mythical creature known as the nuckelavee centaur. The poison-oozing animal was made of kelp and was rumoured to initiate uncontrollable sickness and droughts.
Although some Kelp Forests, such as the ones along the South African coast, are thriving with the fluctuating ocean conditions, there is a global decline in kelp forests, falling two percent in abundance annually.
In 2016, it was estimated that kelp forests were responsible for sequestering over 200 million tons of carbon dioxide each year, absorbing more CO2 than New York emits annually.
Plastic is undoubtedly one of the greatest threats to our planet, and seaweed is a potential miracle alternative. By substituting fossil fuels and formulating plant-based replacements, seaweeds can be a key to mitigating human impact.
The seaweed industry is essential for job security and women empowerment, especially in underdeveloped nations. For instance, in Tanzania, 80% of seaweed farmers are women, and seaweed is the third largest export for the country.
Chilean cultures tell tales of a woman called Lapincoya, a woman covered in seaweed who would seduce fishers out to sea. She was also a sign of luck for a fisherman's future catch. Especially if she was seen dancing toward the sea.
Seaweed agriculture is an up-and-coming, booming industry, cashing in at about 100 billion dollars globally. Since kelp is one of the fastest growing organisms, kelp farming is a profitable and promising industry.
Brown seaweed, such as kelp, contains a gelling agent known as alginate. Kelp is heavily cultivated for its alginate, as it is needed for popular products such as ice cream, beer, frozen foods, and sauces.
During the legendary famine of the 1800s, it is widely known that seaweed was consumed by starving Irish people, who used kelp to enrich their soil and directly consume essential nutrients.
Seventy years ago, Japan created a memorial for a British phycologist (seaweed scientist) and deemed her 'the mother of the sea' due to her contributions to Nori conservation. Her research uncovered essential elements of the seaweed lifecycle that helped revive the local Nori algae.
Sea Bamboo is a large kelp species that can grow up to 70 metres, where the top of the structures can be seen bobbing atop the sea surface.
The Great African Sea Forest resembles an astounding underwater jungle and is one of the most productive ecosystems worldwide. Kelp forests are found in cold, nutrient-dense oceans and border one-third of the earth's coastlines. The Kelp (algae) itself is a powerful agent against climate change owing to its super power of carbon sequestration.
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