When we think of forests, we mostly think of tree-filled landscapes. But the ocean also holds emerald stands of trees so vast, they line one-quarter of our coastlines. “The area is probably equivalent to about the size of the Amazon rainforest, if you add it all up,” says Karen Filbee-Dexter, a marine ecologist doing a research fellowship at the University of Western Australia. These are kelp forests – one of Earth’s most beneficial ecosystems.
Kelps are a type of seaweed, or macroalgae, made up of roughly 33 genera and 112 species — though there remains some disagreement over what constitutes a kelp. What makes them unique amongst other seaweeds is mainly their large size – giant kelp (from the genus Macrocystis and the biggest of the kelps) can reach heights of 45 meters...Read More