Gulf of Maine Kelp Decline Concerns Scientists
November 12, 2018
According to an article in the Boston Globe, kelp forests in the Gulf of Maine are seeing a steep decline due to warming waters.
The warmer conditions are allowing parasitic organisms to thrive and form colonies on the kelp that hinder its growth and make it more likely for the stems to detach from their reefs.
Kelp serves as critical habitat for a range of sea creatures. It also absorbs large amounts of carbon dioxide, helping to reduce the affects of global warming and ocean acidification.
The loss of kelp reflects a global trend, says the Globe, as warming waters and a corresponding rise of invasive species have led to a decline in more than a third of the planet’s kelp forests, especially along the coasts of California and Australia. Over the past 50 years, 38 percent of kelp forests around the world that have been studied are in decline, according to a 2016 study published in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences.