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Transcript of Kelp Forests
The current of the kelp forest can vary throughout the world, but generally there is a pretty quick current. Plants like the kelp plant have adapted to the strong current with holdfast to keep them from drifting away.
They are found throughout the world, they are usually in shallow coastal areas.
The kelp forests usually aren't much deeper than 20 to 80 feet because they need to be near the surface for light.
Kelp forests are both in the North and South hemispheres, some of the biggest kelp forest are located near Australia, New Zealand, South Africa, California coast, and Southern and Western South America. The darker blue areas show the kelp forests in the world Plants Examples Giant Kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) Kelp Forests are dominated by Giant Kelp.
Gian kelp grow dense in the kelp forests and are the largest of all algaes.
Many different marine animals depend upon it for food and shelter.
In ideal situation the giant kelp can grow up to two feet in a single day. Surfgrass (Phyllospadix scouleri) Surfgrass is a plant in the kelp forest that has long flat blades
They grow in dense patches with an anchoring system that allows it withstand waves.
Certain animals like snails and anemones have been known to live in surfgrass. Red Coralline Algae There are three different types of coralline algae
It is hard because its cell wall is made up of calcium deposits, and has a rough texture similiar to corals.
Depending on the type, the algae can either grow upright with branches, or encrust over rocks.
Red coralline algae is an important part of the kelp forest, because it is food for animals like sea urchins, different fish, and animals in the mollusca family. Plant Adaptations One adaptation that the giant kelp plants has is holdfasts. Holdfasts are stalks the plant has to keep the kelp attached to rocks or substrate. The holdfasts help keep the kelp plants from moving in the strong currents of the kelp forests. Kelp plants also have a gas bladder at the base of each blade. The gas bladder help the plant rise closer to the surface so that they can get more sunlight and photosynthesize. Kelp plants also can adapt to their surrounding enviornment by changing the shape of their blade. In more quick currents the blades will be thinner so they don't get torn off, but in a more calm kelp forest the kelp will have a wider blade. Animals Examples Rockfish There are over 100 species of rockfish, that vary in size, shape and color, from black to drab green to orange and red
In kelp forest they can usually be found under the kelp canopy or even at the rocky bottom of the kelp forest, usually swimming in large schools
Rockfish are some of the longest living fish with one being know to possibly live to 200 years, which means that they don't breed until they're 20 years old and only have a few young.
Rockfish have venomous fin spines. Leopard Shark (Triakis semifasciat) Leopard sharks are often found patrolling kelp beds, rarely below 65 feet.
Their diet includes invertebrates like crabs, shrimp, and fish like midshipmen, sanddabs, shiner perch, bat rays, smoothhounds, and a variety of fish eggs.
Leopard sharks have been known to mutilate their prey and only take what they need.
Births of Leopard sharks usually take place between April and May and they usually have 3 to 33 pups.
Few animals prey upon the leopard shark, but white sharks have been known to.
Leopard Sharks are almost harmless to humans, with only one reported attack of a Leopard shark. Ocean Sunfish (Mola mola) Ocean sunfish often drift into kelp forests, mostly to get help from fish that clean parasites off of the sunfishes bodies.
An average adult weighs 2,200 pounds, and is the heaviest bony fish in the world.
Sunfish mainly eat jellyfish, but because the jellyfish aren't that good nutritionally, they must eat large amounts.
They have few predators, but sea lions, orcas, and sharks.
Southern Sea Otter (Enhydra lutris) Sea otters have been know to dive up to 330 feet in search of predators like sea urchins,mussels, clams,snails, crabs, and other invertebrates.
Sea otters help control sea urchins population, and without them sea urchins would destroy the kelp forests.
Sea otters often use rocks to pry open clams, mussels, or shellfish, and one of the few animals that are known to use tools.
Sea otters sometimes drape kelp over their body to keep from floating away. Purple Sea Urchin(Strongylocentrotus purpuratus) Purple sea urchins are an important part of kelp forests,because they eat algae and kelp and help keep the right amount of algae in the forests.
The spikes or spines that the urchins have are used for both protection and mobilization.
Purple sea urchins usually grow to around a four inch diameter, and can live up to 70 years. Sunflower Starfish(Pycnopodia helianthoides) Sunflower starfish usually have between 16 and 24 limbs.
They live off of algae, kelp, crabs, snails, urchins, and other starfish.
Sunflower starfish are relatively fast, and are able to move at 40 inches per minute.
The next video shows varios creatures of the kelp forest like the purple sea urchins, sunflower starfish, and many other types of starfish Animal behavioral adaptations Decorator crabs often camouflage themselves by picking up peices plants or even animals like seaweed, anenomes, and sponges.
When the crabs begin to get bigger the pieces of animals and plants fasten themselves to crabs and begin to grow. Sea otters help keep the kelp forest ecosystem in line.
A behavioral adaptation that sea otters have is using rocks as tools to crack open shells from various animals that they eat.
They are one of few species to use tools.
Another behavioral adaptation they have is when they sometimes drape kelp over themselves to keep from floating away. One behavioral adaptation that rockfish and other fish in the kelp forest use is schooling.
There are a couple of reasons why a fish must school, one is for defense, they find food better, and are also more likely to find a mate.
Another adaption that rockfish have is that they often hide in leaves of kelp plants, where it is less likely they will be found. Physical Adaptation A common fish in the kelp forest known as Señorita (Oxyjulis californica) have a small mouth with protruding teeth which they use for very small things off of algae. Another fish known as the California sheephead has a few adaptations that help with feeding
They have portruding teeth to pry shelled animals from rocks
They also sharp teeth and a powerful jaw for crushing animals
Finally, they have a modified throat bone to grind the shells down to small pieces. Gumboot chiton are an invertebrate that live in the kelp forest with a couple physical adaptations.
They have a thick mantle and 8 shell plates to help protective themselves from predators.
They also have a muscular foot to keep them anchored to rocks.
Finally, they have a radula with teeth that they use to scrape off algae.
The california moray and red rock shrimp share a symbiotic relationship.
The red rock shrimp will help clean dead skin off of the eel.
In return, the eel will share a home with the shrimp, defend it from predators that may try to eat it in their cave, and not the shrimp. Kelp Forest Food Web Environmental challenges The kelp forest is a very unstable and have gone through many challenges in the past.
Several hundred years ago when Russians realized their was a large seal population on the coast of California, they killed them for their expensive pelts. They were harvested almost to the point of extinction. This caused a long chain reaction causing kelp to start disappearing. Because, the seals eat lots of urchins so when the seals were killed urchins became overpopulated. Though urchins did not usually eat kelp, they turned to the holdfasts of the kelp, which then came off the substrate and the kelp simply disappeared. Over the last 50 years sea otters have become a protected species and kelp has slowly returned.
Another problem happened about 50 years ago off the coast of California when untreated sewage was dumped. Sea urchins which usually fed on algae, would also feed on the sewage. Soon with all the extra food population of urchins grew to the point where almost the whole kelp forest floor was covered in urchins. One in a while currents would shift and the raw sewage would not come to the usually areas. Causing the tons of urchins to become hungry eat kelp holdfast. Which would release the kelp and cause them to disappear. As a result the kelp beds almost totally disappeared. Geology The kelp forest has 5 different guilds, 3 are kelp, and 2 are other algaes.
the canopy, is often referred to as the floating kelp and is the largest species, it extends to the surface
the stipitate grow in dense patches usually a few yards above the ocean floor.
the prostrate lies on or near the ocean floor.
the benthic assemblage is made of algae and other invertebrates that lie along the bottom of the kelp forest.
Encrusting is the coralline algae that lies directly on the substrate.
For Furthur information visit
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