Kelp

Earlier today I was reading and I found a section all about kelp. When looking at a kelp forest I never really thought about what was going on inside this green maze but it turns out that many creatures eat here, hunt here and call the forests their home. Here are some interesting facts that I found.

Off the coast of Alaska and California, kelp form underwater forests which house an abundance of marine life. Some of these animals eat the kelp whilst others hide behind the tall fronds to escape their predator.

Kelp stay firmly attached to the sea bed because of their holdfasts. This is a claw-like structure which helps the kelp stay anchored to the sea bed by attaching to rocks. The holdfasts look very similar to the roots of a planet we could find on land but they have a different function. On land the roots are used to absorb nutrients from the soil but the holdfasts are there to keep the kelp from being carried away by the current. These claw- like structures are sometimes seen with barnacles, sea sponges, mussels and other animals covering them.

Giant kelp is a type of brown seaweed and can live in sunlit waters up to 40m deep. The fronds grow and grow until they reach the surface of the clear water. Giant kelp can grow 60cm in one day if the conditions are at best. I thought that this was really amazing.

Kelp forest are home to many species of marine life such as, otters, sea urchins and octopuses. Sea urchins chew on the kelp using their prickly exterior to get through the tough kelp stalks. However, the sea urchins never manage to eat the whole forest because the otters will then eat the sea urchins. These urchin hunters then knock open the urchins using stones found on the surface. This ensures the otters can get to the flesh on the inside by avoiding the spikes. One of the largest animals that live in these forests is the Pacific giant octopus. They have 8 incredibly long legs which can span to 4.3m in some cases. They eat shellfish and fish. They are incredibly intelligent creatures with long lasting memories and perfect senses.

It is fascinating to look at a kelp forest and just wonder about all of the different activities going on inside. What do you think is happening in the forest below?





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