Kelp Forests (kelp + forest)

Distribution by Scientific Domains


Selected Abstracts


Disturbance and reef topography maintain high local diversity in Ecklonia radiata kelp forests

OIKOS, Issue 10 2007
Benjamin D. Toohey
Disturbance of competitive-dominant plant and algae canopies often lead to increased diversity of the assemblage. Kelp forests, particularly those of temperate Western Australia, are habitats with high alpha diversity. This study investigated the roles of broad-scale canopy loss and local scale reef topography on structuring the kelp-dominated macroalgal forests in Western Australia. Eighteen 314,m2 circular areas were cleared of their Ecklonia radiata canopy and eighteen controls were established across three locations. The patterns of macroalgal recolonisation in replicate clearances were observed over a 34,month period. Macroalgal species richness initially increased after canopy removal with a turf of filamentous and foliose macroalgae dominating cleared areas for up to seven months. A dense Sargassum canopy dominated cleared areas from 11 to 22,months. By 34,months, partial recovery of the kelp canopy into cleared areas had occurred. Some cleared areas did not follow this trajectory but remained dominated by turfing, foliose and filamentous algae. As kelp canopies developed, the initial high species diversity declined but still remained elevated relative to undisturbed controls, even after 34 months. More complex reef topography was associated with greater variability in the algal assemblage between replicate quadrats suggesting colonising algae had a greater choice of microhabitats available to them on topographically complex reefs. Shading by canopies of either Sargassum spp. and E. radiata are proposed to highly influence the abundance of algae through competitive exclusion that is relaxed by disturbance of the canopy. Disturbance of the canopy in E. radiata kelp forests created a mosaic of different patch types (turf, Sargassum -dominated, kelp-dominated). These patch types were both transient and stable over the 34 months of this study, and are a potential contemporary process that maintains high species diversity in temperate kelp-dominated reefs. [source]


Dynamic and spatial models of kelp forest of Macrocystis integrifolia and Lessonia trabeculata (SE Pacific) for assessment harvest scenarios: short-term responses

AQUATIC CONSERVATION: MARINE AND FRESHWATER ECOSYSTEMS, Issue 5 2010
Marco Ortiz
Abstract 1. Dynamic and spatial models of the kelp forest off northern Chile (SE Pacific coast) were constructed using the Ecosim and Ecospace theoretical frameworks based on a previously mass-balanced trophic model using Ecopath II software. 2. The biomass of Macrocystis integrifolia and Lessonia trabeculata blades constituted the most relevant compartments or variables of the ecosystem studied. 3. The relative ascendency (A/C) of 35.5% suggests that this ecosystem is immature, but resistant to disturbances (e.g. fisheries). 4. The results obtained using mixed trophic impacts (MTI) show that both brown macroalgae produced relatively similar quantitative and qualitative effects, however, the predictions based on Ecosim clearly show that L. trabeculata experienced the most relevant direct and indirect effects. 5. The highest values of system recovery time obtained by Pinguipes chilensis and the other seastar group suggest that both compartments could be considered to be top predator species with strong top-down control. 6. The exploitation of kelp blades as a new harvest strategy appears to be ecologically sustainable. 7. The Ecospace trophic-spatially explicit model shows that exploitation exerted separately by habitat generates a similar pattern of direct and indirect effects. These results suggest that a habitat rotation of fisheries would not be justified.Copyright © 2010 John Wiley & Sons, Ltd. [source]


55 Ice age kelp forests: climate-driven changes in kelp forest distribution since the last glacial maximum

JOURNAL OF PHYCOLOGY, Issue 2003
M. H. Graham
Kelp forest distributions are constrained by the availability of rocky substrate within the depth range tolerable for growth and reproduction, which can vary over relatively short geological timescales (millennia) due to interactions between coastal bathymetry and climate-driven changes in eustatic sea level. Using GIS, a digital bathymetric map, sea level curves, and published kelp depth tolerances, I reconstructed changes in the size and distribution of giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) forests in the Southern California Bight since the last glacial maximum. Reconstructions predicted that the total area of available kelp forest habitat for the California Channel Islands during the last glacial maximum (18.5 kyr BP; 628 square km) was greater than at present (382 square km) but less than at 16.5 kyr BP (1130 square km). Available kelp forest habitat along the southern California mainland also increased rapidly from 18.5 to 16.5 kyr BP but continued to increase with sea level rise. Differences in the effects of sea level rise on coastal geomorphology between the islands and mainland further constrained the extent of rocky substrate available to kelps. Given biomass and productivity estimates from present-day kelp forests, these reconstructions suggest more productive and spatially extensive island kelp forests near the last glacial maximum than at present, but the opposite pattern for the mainland. These climate-driven changes in kelp forest distribution and productivity likely had important historical impacts on the ecology and evolution of the present-day kelp ecosystem including kelp forest exploitation by early human inhabitants of southern California. [source]


Disturbance and reef topography maintain high local diversity in Ecklonia radiata kelp forests

OIKOS, Issue 10 2007
Benjamin D. Toohey
Disturbance of competitive-dominant plant and algae canopies often lead to increased diversity of the assemblage. Kelp forests, particularly those of temperate Western Australia, are habitats with high alpha diversity. This study investigated the roles of broad-scale canopy loss and local scale reef topography on structuring the kelp-dominated macroalgal forests in Western Australia. Eighteen 314,m2 circular areas were cleared of their Ecklonia radiata canopy and eighteen controls were established across three locations. The patterns of macroalgal recolonisation in replicate clearances were observed over a 34,month period. Macroalgal species richness initially increased after canopy removal with a turf of filamentous and foliose macroalgae dominating cleared areas for up to seven months. A dense Sargassum canopy dominated cleared areas from 11 to 22,months. By 34,months, partial recovery of the kelp canopy into cleared areas had occurred. Some cleared areas did not follow this trajectory but remained dominated by turfing, foliose and filamentous algae. As kelp canopies developed, the initial high species diversity declined but still remained elevated relative to undisturbed controls, even after 34 months. More complex reef topography was associated with greater variability in the algal assemblage between replicate quadrats suggesting colonising algae had a greater choice of microhabitats available to them on topographically complex reefs. Shading by canopies of either Sargassum spp. and E. radiata are proposed to highly influence the abundance of algae through competitive exclusion that is relaxed by disturbance of the canopy. Disturbance of the canopy in E. radiata kelp forests created a mosaic of different patch types (turf, Sargassum -dominated, kelp-dominated). These patch types were both transient and stable over the 34 months of this study, and are a potential contemporary process that maintains high species diversity in temperate kelp-dominated reefs. [source]


Balancing the Need to Develop Coastal Areas with the Desire for an Ecologically Functioning Coastal Environment: Is Net Ecosystem Improvement Possible?

RESTORATION ECOLOGY, Issue 1 2005
R.M. Thom
Abstract The global human population is growing exponentially, close to a majority lives and works near the coast, and coastal commerce and development are critical to the economies of many nations. Hence, coastal areas will continue to be a major focus of development and economic activity. People desire the economic advantages provided by coastal development along with the fisheries and social commodities supported by estuarine and coastal ecosystems. Because of these facts, we view the challenge of balancing coastal development with enhancing nearshore marine and estuarine ecosystems (i.e., net ecosystem improvement) as the top priority for coastal researchers in this century. Our restoration research in Pacific Northwest estuaries and participation in nearshore project design and impact mitigation has largely dealt with these competing goals. To this end, we have applied conceptual models, comprehensive assessment methods, and principles of restoration ecology, conservation biology, and adaptive management to incorporate science into decisions about uses of estuarine systems. Case studies of Bainbridge Island and the Columbia River demonstrate the use of objective, defensible methods to prioritize tidally influenced shorelines and habitats (i.e., riparian forests, marshes, unvegetated flats, rocky shores, seagrass meadows, kelp forests) for preservation, conservation, and restoration. Case studies of Clinton, Washington, and Port Townsend, Washington, demonstrate the incorporation of an ecological perspective and technological solutions into design of overwater structures to minimize impacts on nearshore ecosystems. Adaptive management has allowed coastal development and restoration uncertainties to be better evaluated, with the information used to improve management decisions. Although unproven on a large scale, we think these kinds of methods can contribute to the net improvement of already degraded ecosystems. The ingredients include applied science to understand the issues, education, incentives, empirical data, cumulative impact analysis, and an effective adaptive management program. Because the option of net ecosystem improvement is often more costly than alternatives such as no net loss, commitment by the local or regional community to this approach is essential. [source]


Effects of the El Niño southern oscillation on Turbo torquatus (Gastropoda) and their kelp habitat

AUSTRAL ECOLOGY, Issue 5 2008
PIERS ETTINGER-EPSTEIN
Abstract Turbo torquatus (hereafter Turbo) were abundant and patchily distributed, especially in algal dominated habitats in shallow water (less then 10 metres) on rocky reefs in central New South Wales, Australia. Although the assemblage of algae was similar in barrens with and without crevices, Turbo were most abundant in crevices, suggesting that shelter was important. Experimental removal of the kelp canopy resulted in a great decrease in the number of Turbo. This was despite cleared patches containing more filamentous food algae, further highlighting the importance of shelter. The density of Turbo in kelp forests ranged from six to seven per square metre in times of abundance and less then one per square metre at other times over a 12-year period. Variation in the resource base (i.e. food algae and kelp cover) was strongly linked to the abundance of Turbo. Abundance of Turbo was lowest when the density of adult kelp was low (less than 14 plants per square metre). The condition of kelp was severely affected during the 1997,1998 and 2002 El Niño events and was compromised 2,4 years after each event. These pulse events and related loss of shelter probably contributed to a decline in abundance of Turbo. This model was further supported when Turbo abundance increased with a subsequent increase in the density of kelp. [source]