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March 5, 2021
University of California - Santa Cruz

Satellite imagery shows that the area covered by kelp forests off the coast of Northern California has dropped by more than 95 percent, with just a few small, isolated patches of bull kelp remaining. Species-rich kelp forests have been replaced by 'urchin barrens,' where purple sea urchins cover a seafloor devoid of kelp and other algae.

A new study led by researchers at UC Santa Cruz documents this dramatic shift in the coastal ecosystem and analyzes the events that caused it. This was not a gradual decline, but an abrupt collapse of the kelp forest ecosystem in the aftermath of unusual ocean warming along the West Coast starting in 2014, part of a series of events that combined to decimate the kelp forests.

https://www.sciencedaily.com/releases/2021/03/210305080126.h...

Jaak
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