The Decline Of Californian Giant Kelp Forests

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The Decline of Californian Giant Kelp Forests
Kelp forests are seen as the ultimate ecological engineer in coastal areas. They exist in marine environments spanning in southern California, Aleutian Islands, and the western north Atlantic. Light, latitude, and water temperature and nutrients all play a role in facilitating the growth of kelp forests all around the world, (Bolton). Kelp specifically dominates the shallow rocky coasts of the world‘s cold water marine habitats. Although they look as a free-growing plant, they are in fact primarily of brown algae. These structures provide food and shelter to a huge mix of biota, including crabs, sea urchins, mollusks, and other marine organisms (Steneck). The fronds, or large leaves of the kelp are the distinctive feature that can represent where a specific kelp may be found. The sizes of these organisms can range from the smallest found near California and Alaska at 5m to giant kelp up to 45m in length found on the west coasts of North and South America (Hamilton).
One specific species found most commonly is the Laminaria prominently found in the northern hemisphere except for the eastern pacific. Kelp themselves are not very diverse at the taxonomical level. However, the coast of California contains the most diverse flora, 20 species across 16 genera to be exact. Although their taxonomic diversity may be low, their diversity exists at the structural and functional levels. Kelp have specific characteristics such as their trumpet

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