Kelp Forests effect on Climate Change

Kelp is a form of seaweed that is commonly farmed. It is a keystone organism,   t his brown alga can be found in cold, coastal marine waters all around the world. Kelp forests can be found primarily throughout the Eastern Pacific Coast, from Alaska and Canada to the waters off the coast of California. It grows extremely fast, up to 2ft per day and requires no fertilizer or weeding. This abundant habitat supports a diverse range of fish, invertebrates, and marine mammals, forming the foundation of a diverse ecosystem. Kelps can be found in subtidal areas. Bull kelp is an annual species that dies and regrows every year, while giant kelp is a perennial species that survives for several years. It employs photosynthesis to absorb CO2 and produce biomass. Kelp can trap up to 20 times more carbon per acre than land forests, assisting in the slowing of local acidification. Coastal marine systems can absorb carbon at up to 50 times the rate of land-based forests. Kelp forests are also among the world's most prolific ecosystems, allowing them to support the diverse assemblage of species that would otherwise be extinct. Kelp cleans the water and filters the waste products produced by the forest creatures. However, climate change puts these natural carbon sinks in jeopardy. As atmospheric carbon dioxide levels rise, more of the gas is dissolved in the oceans, making them more acidic. This, combined with warming oceans, it is already wreaking havoc on coral reefs and seaweed ecosystems. Extreme marine heat waves, similar to coral bleaching events or forest die-offs on land, have caused rapid and huge kelp die-offs in recent years.
 

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