Kelp I Macroalgae

Kelp Forests Flourished Off US Pacific Coast as Early as 32 Million Years Ago

Ground-breaking research has revealed that Pacific kelp forests are much older than previously thought, reshaping our knowledge of marine ecosystems.

Originally thought to be a relatively recent occurrence in ocean history, kelp forests are now considered ancient entities, with origins dating back millions of years. This revelation comes from the analysis of fossil records and advances in dating techniques, allowing scientists to peer back through time.

Giant kelp (Macrocystis pyrifera) is a species of kelp (large brown algae)

Kelp forests help the climate

Kelp is an ecologically and economically important foundation species in California, where forests line nutrient-rich, rocky bottom coasts. It also might alleviate acidification caused by too much atmospheric carbon being absorbed by the seas.

A new interdisciplinary analysis of giant kelp in Monterey Bay off the coast of California shows that near the ocean’s surface, the water was less acidic, suggesting the kelp canopy does reduce acidity.