There are many things we take for granted in this world, like oceans and kelp forests being one of them. Oceans play an important role in our daily lives with everything from living space to breathable air.
Kelps are also an integral part of our everyday existence. They’re found everywhere around the globe, even in large inland bodies of water!
There is a misconception that all kelps grow only at very high latitudes or altitudes. This is not true! Some species can be found anywhere where there is enough sunlight and nutrients to support growth.
The best examples of this are coral reefs which occur throughout the tropics and other marine environments with similar conditions.
However, there are some temperate zone kelp ecosystems that exist in vast expanses- something most people do not know about!
These kelp jungles are quite spectacular to behold as they grow tall and vertical. These vertical mats of algae usually form in areas with a moderate amount of tidal flow and strong currents.
Some experts believe that these current patterns influence the vertical distribution of light needed by the kelp. This could contribute to why certain kelp types grow vertically instead of horizontally.
Another theory is that as the kelp grows taller, it gets more exposure to wind which helps dry out the plant slightly. This may help prevent excessive seaweed buildup in low rainfall regions or during drought seasons.
History of kelp forests
As mentioned earlier, there are many different types of kelp forest ecosystems around our coasts today. Some are very shallow while others are much deeper than what we have seen in past years. These differences depend on several factors such as season, tide, and climate.
Kelps grow in diverse environments with rich nutrients so they can thrive here. This includes low nutrient areas that are depleted due to human activity or natural processes (like wave action).
These deep-sea habitats require significant amounts of energy to live in. They must constantly expend more energy by moving around and feeding to survive.
Most kelps feed by filtering water and pulling in particles, including other marine organisms. However, not all parts of these plants eat like hungry giants!
Some individual cells contain tiny hairs called cilia that help move surrounding fluid and increase intake. These hairs also aid in breathing for the plant.
Overall though, how deeply a kelp forest goes is dependent on the amount of food it finds and the ability to get enough air.
Effects of climate change on kelp forests
As temperatures rise, so will the intensity and duration of heatwaves in our oceans. This can have significant impacts on marine ecosystems.
Kelps are a type of seaweed that grows very quickly during warm periods. They begin to grow when conditions are just slightly warmer than normal and they continue growing rapidly until the next hot spell.
This process is why people sometimes notice kelp sprouting along beaches after a particularly long period of rainy weather. When there’s enough rain for the kelps to grow normally, but it also happens to be warm, then the plants grow fast!
However, Climate Change makes this more difficult by causing longer dry spells and hotter summers. This could reduce the amount of growth we see in kelp forests in the future.
Some studies predict that up to 90% reductions in cover of some species of kelp within 20 years if action isn’t taken to prevent global warming.
Effects of human activity on kelp forests
As mentioned earlier, humans have altered our oceans in many ways – most notably through the overharvesting or extinction of marine species for food or entertainment.
Not only do these changes reduce biodiversity, they can also threaten some of the ocean’s more important functions.
Kelps are an integral part of this process. They help keep water fresh by filtering out much of the salt that would otherwise enter the sea.
Some studies suggest that without kelps, there could be up to a 70% increase in surface seawater acidity due to the excess hydrogen ions left behind after kelp dies and decomposes.
This would be disastrous for coral reefs, which depend on calcium carbonate being dissolved in water to form their skeletons and shells.
Without enough alkaline minerals, corals may suffer from mineral deficiency, potentially leading to death.
Ways to help save kelp forests
Help preserve our coastal ecosystems by reducing your water consumption. Stop wasting water by only drinking fresh water or water with purified chemicals, and instead drink filtered or distilled beverages, such as soda!
Avoid using excessive amounts of shampoo and shower gel, try natural wash products like coconut or almond-based ones to reduce ocean pollution.
When you are done washing yourself, make sure to never run empty containers into rivers or oceans; always use proper waste disposal systems to prevent flooding and overflowing of polluted waters.
Drinking less water can have huge impacts in protecting our coasts. One large organization reports that every person who does not drink water contributes up to five gallons of water wasted each day!
This is very close to one half gallon of water per person per day that makes it hard for seaweeds to grow and thrive. If everyone did this, there would be enough water left over for all the plants and animals else along the coast!”
It is important to note that although drinking less water is helpful, being thirsty is also a normal body response to lack of food.
There are many different types of marine reserves, with varying levels of depth. Some are limited to specific areas like reefs or rocky outcroppings, while others are larger zones that include all parts of the ocean floor.
Marine parks and preserves focus primarily on protecting ecosystems rather than individual species. This is an important distinction as not every marine animal is considered endangered.
Some examples of this are whale habitats where animals can thrive instead of only being able to survive in protected waters.
These protections ensure that natural ecological processes occur such as underwater grasses growing and seagrass meadows developing. They also give other aquatic life time to live and grow without having to worry about human intervention.
While these changes may be difficult to see at first, they make oceans more resilient as well as provide new opportunities for thriving wildlife. In fact, some studies show that healthy kelp forests play a significant role in helping coastal fish populations recover from drought!
Kelps are a type of seaweed that grows rapidly during times of water stress. When there’s enough food available, kelps bloom and spread across large distances. These expansions help create habitat for several species, including juvenile Atlantic cod.
Protect all marine life
As mentioned before, kelp is an important part of our ocean ecosystem. Not only does it help other species survive by eating or absorbing some of their surrounding nutrients, but it also acts as a source of food for many others.
Kelp forests are particularly rich in trace minerals such as iron, calcium, and zinc that aid in growth and development for several types of aquatic organisms.
These include shellfish like clams, mussels, and oysters, coral reef fish, seaweed plants, and blue-green algae!
As we know, water with high levels of acidity can be harmful for wildlife. When there’s too much CO2 in our oceans, they become more acidic. This changes the chemical balance of the water, which may negatively affect the health and survival of marine life.
Acidification has been linked to decreased skeletal mineralization (the process of bone formation) in juvenile corals. Reduced calcification could impair a coral’s ability to grow strong protective skeletons and possibly even cause mortality.
For this reason, protecting and restoring natural pH balances in our oceans is essential to save coral reefs and other marine habitats.
There are many ways to reduce water pollution from waste, but limiting how much sewage you put into your wastewater can be one of the most effective ways to keep waters clean.
Clothing made with recycled plastic or wool will help prevent some types of water contamination. Using less salt when cooking food is an easy way to limit water pollution as well.
By using products that have never been touched by human hands, you can avoid adding more chemicals to water ecosystems. These products include fruits and vegetables that have been washed in fresh water, natural soap made of coconut oil or other oils, and plants like seaweed that wash off naturally contain minerals.
Kelps are a perfect example of this! Read on for all the details on these beautiful sea life allies.
Keep an eye on fishing
Many people are aware of how important marine kelp forests are to our overall health as aquatic beings, but few know just how deep they go or what all of them do.
Kelps help regulate the pH levels of water we live in by absorbing acidity from the surrounding environment. They also contribute essential minerals for healthy living suchas zinc, magnesium, and potassium.
Marine kelps even play a crucial role in protecting us from cancer due to their high content of chlorophyll. This compound has been linked to preventing DNA mutation which could lead to cell growth and/or tumor formation.
However, despite all these benefits, coastal ecosystems across the globe have seen a significant decline in kelp cover over the past couple decades. That’s why it is so important to protect and preserve those that remain.