Researchers at the Woods Hole Oceanographic Institution have published research showing that multiple factors play a part in the growth dynamics of giant kelp (“macrocystis pyrifera“).
Researchers used remote sensing to make their observations on giant kelp species in the Santa Barbara Channel off the coast of California. The research was published in the “Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences of the United States of America.”
The research was conducted across a 4,000-square-kilometer (1,544-square-mile) area of the channel and looked at sea surface temperature dynamics using various methods, including satellite imaging.
According to Tom Bell, the primary author and assistant scientist at WHOI’s Department of Applied Ocean Physics & Engineering:
“Depending on your spatial scale of observation—whether you are looking at kelp forests regionally or really honing in on a specific local area—the patterns that manifest at these scales may be indicative of different drivers. On a regional scale for areas larger than one kilometer, seawater nutrients were related to the physiological condition dynamics of kelp. However, on local scales of less than one-kilometer, internal senescence processes related to kelp canopy age demographics were related to the patterns of biomass loss across individual kelp forests, despite uniform nutrient conditions.”
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