The Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution has announced the launch of the world’s largest Kelp map.
The initiative is in collaboration with The Nature Conservancy, the University of California Los Angeles and the University of California Santa Barbara. The map covers kelp on the western seaboard of North America, where kelp stretches from Oregon-Washington in the north to Baja California in the south.
The initiative uses remote sensing and satellite imagery to map out kelp density and track how it grows and changes over time.
Commenting on the work, Tom Bell, an assistant scientist at WHOI, who originally partnered with UCLA over the project, stated:
“The large spatial coverage of Kelpwatch.org paired with decades of historical data allows ecosystem managers and the public to examine how changes to kelp forests in their locations of interest compare to the past four decades. Kelp forests are incredibly dynamic systems so having access to historical data gives anyone the power to determine if recent changes lie outside the range of natural variability.”
While Vienna Saccomanno, an ocean scientist with The Nature Conservancy, commented:
“Kelp forests are home to thousands of species, locally mitigate the effects of ocean acidification, and provide valuable services for coastal communities. Knowing where remaining healthy kelp forests are located, and the long-term history of kelp forests is the first step in strategic restoration. Kelpwatch.org provides this information and is a game-changer for resetting the ecosystem.”
For more info, go to kelpwatch.org.