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Kelp Forests

Kelp Forests

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Kelp Forests

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  1. Kelp Forests By: Brittany Raven and HilleSennott AP Environmental Science

  2. Kelp Forest Characteristics Grow along rocky coastlines—the larger and stronger the rock is, the more likely the kelp are to survive Cold, nutrient-rich water Shallow and open coastal waters, rarely deeper than 15 to 40 meters because they need light for photosynthesis Very productive Usually three guilds of kelp (Canopy, Stipitate, Prostrate) and two other guilds with other kinds of algae (Benthic Assemblage, Encrusting) Many species of kelp coexist together

  3. Ecosystem Services • The significance of kelp forest communities is exemplified by the “bottom-up” system of trophic ecology • Bottom-up processes are driven by abiotic conditions required for primary producers to grow, such as availability of light and nutrients, and the subsequent energy transfers to consumers at higher trophic levels • This allows kelp to grow and support herbivores, which in turn support consumers at higher trophic levels • In the absence of predation, lower level species flourish because resources that support their energetic requirements are non-limiting

  4. Human Intervention • Chronic pollution such as sediment deposition and eutrophication from sewage, industrial byproducts and contaminants like PCBS • Harvested to feed aquaculture species like abalone and to extract the compound alginic acid, which is used in products like toothpaste and antacids • Overfishing off the coast of shore ecosystems can release herbivores from their natural population regulation and result in overgrazing of kelp and algae • Leads to depopulation of habitats Abolone, a species of edible sea snail Polychlorinated biphenyls (PCBs) were used as coolant fluids in transformers, capacitors and electric motors