Much like forests on land, kelp forests support an incredible amount of wildlife and help keep our planet healthy. These underwater habitats are mostly found in shallow, open water from the Arctic to more temperate regions of our ocean. They play a key role in preserving marine biodiversity, combating the effects of climate change, and recent studies have found they also support fisheries and other coastal economies.
Kelp, often confused as a plant, is actually a seaweed or algae that attaches to surfaces using a holdfast, which resembles the roots of a tree. Some species remain fairly small, but some can grow into towering giants over 100 ft tall and create beautiful ocean forests bustling with marine life. Fish, sea lions, fur seals, and dolphins are among the countless animals that love to visit these vital ecosystems, which provide a safe haven for wildlife. However, kelp forests do more for our planet than shelter ocean animals and plants. They also help absorb carbon, remove excess nitrogen from their environment, help protect shores from erosion, and even support fisheries by providing nurseries for baby fish.
Not only are kelp forests some of the most magical and beautiful habitats in our ocean, but they also serve as vital components of our planet’s ecosystems. As scientists work to uncover more of the secret benefits of these underwater powerhouses, SeaLegacy is working closely with on-the-ground partners to protect kelp forests worldwide. You can help keep our ocean healthier by supporting our work and the invaluable initiatives of conservation groups like Por El Mar and Sea Change Project.