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About Kelp Forests

Context:

A recent study has revealed that Kelp forests are declining because of climate change.

Relevance:

GS III: Water Resources

Dimensions of the Article:

  1. Key Findings of the Study
  2. About Kelp Forests

Key Findings of the Study:

  • Ecklonia radiata, a prevalent kelp species in the southern hemisphere, is susceptible to the effects of climate change, particularly in equatorial regions.
  • The increasing temperatures are causing a decline in its populations along the eastern coast of Australia and further declines are expected globally.
  • Direct protection in its natural habitat may not be feasible, but its valuable genetic diversity can be maintained through ex situ preservation in culture banks for potential future use in restoration, hybridization, or adaptation efforts.

About Kelp Forests:

  • Kelp forests are underwater ecosystems created by the dense growth of multiple species of brown algae.
  • Kelp is a large brown algae that lives in cool and shallow waters close to the coast.
  • Kelp attaches to the ocean floor, grows to the water’s surface, and relies on sunlight to produce food and energy.
  • Kelp forests are found in shallow, clear coastal waters and provide habitats for hundreds of species of invertebrates, fishes, and other algae.

Significance of Kelp Forests:

  • They serve as a primary food source for marine creatures and produce up to 60% of the carbon found in coastal invertebrates.
  • As a diverse invertebrate and fish ecosystem, they serve as a habitat for birds to forage.
  • They increase coastal ecology productivity by releasing carbon and creating new biomass, detritus, and other materials through primary production.

Source: Down to Earth


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