Kelp, with its incredible ability to overcome biological stressors and grow back quickly, is an important indicator of how healthy the ocean is.
As such, two studies published recently in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, attempted first to quantify the health of kelp forests around the globe, and then to determine what can cause this resilient species to enter a large-scale decline and how that impacts the ecosystem as a whole.
“When kelps show dramatic changes, increases or decreases, that indicates that there has been a real change in the ecosystem,” Jarrett Byrnes, co-author of the first study and an assistant professor of biology at University of Massachusetts, Boston, tells The Christian Science Monitor. “Kelps are very resilient, they respond very quickly after environmental predation. Anything that can drive a long-term change in a kelp population has got to be pretty big.” READ MORE.