In recently published research, MBA scientists surveyed kelp forests at 12 sites in four regions around the UK to quantify ecological structure at multiple spatial scales.
Subtidal forests of kelps and other canopy-forming macroalgae represent critically important marine habitats. Kelp forests exhibit high rates of primary productivity, magnified secondary productivity, support high levels of biodiversity and provide various ecosystem services. Despite their recognised importance, kelp forests around the UK have been largely understudied compared with many other regions.
The highlights from this research include:
- Kelp assemblages and populations varied considerably between sites within regions.
- Kelp assemblages and populations also varied along a latitudinal gradient in temperature.
- The structure of kelp forest habitat is predicted to respond to future ocean warming.
The reference for this paper is: Smale, D. & Moore, P. J. Variability in kelp forest structure along a latitudinal gradient in ocean temperature. Journal of Experimental Marine Biology and Ecology 486 (2017) 255–264