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🔬 "Pacific Kelp Forests"

Water Talk

Photo by Shane Stagner / Unsplash

Table of Contents

Hosts: Drs. Mallika Nocco, Faith Kearns & Sam Sandoval
Guest: Dr. Arturo Ramírez-Valdez | Marine Conservation Biologist
Category: 🔬 Research | Kelp Forests

Podcast’s Essential Bites:

[7:04] “California's culture and economy completely dependent [on] the ocean. With more than 400 miles of coastline, California has the third longest coastline of any state in America. […] Its coastline is not just one of the longest in the country, but one of the most diverse in terms of ecosystems. […] In 2019, it was estimated that 26.9 million people live in the counties along the coast of California, which represent 68% of California's population.

[8:01] “In terms of economy, the California ocean economy represents roughly 12% of the gross domestic product of the US ocean economy. […] In terms of GDP, the California ocean economy is dominated by three main sectors, tourism and recreation, marine transportation, and offshore mineral extraction. Together these three sectors account for 95% of the ocean economy in terms of GDP. […] The waters of the California coastline boasts some of the most productive and diverse marine ecosystems in the world, […] bolstered by the California Current.”

[10:55] “Kelp forests can be considered the […] counterparts of the rainforest. They are among the most species-rich communities in temperate seas and among the most productive ecosystems on Earth. […] Kelp forests are extensive underwater habitats that [range along] 25% of the world’s coastlines. […] These dense canopies of algae generally occur in […] cold nutrient rich waters. And because of their dependency […] for photosynthesis […] kelp forests form in shallow open waters. […] Kelp is not a plant, but actually an algae. Kelps are [one of] the fastest growing species […] [and] most productive of all living organisms on Earth.

[19:14] “Kelp […] is rich in iodine and alkali, which is used also for salt and glass production for instance. We also extract alginates [which] is used to thicken products such as ice cream, jelly, salad dressing, and toothpaste.”

[21:25] “More than 124 marine protected areas [have] been designated in [California] state waters, all the way from the northern coast […] to the Mexican border. Now we have 16% of the California state waters protected. […] The conservation strategies don't need to be totally connected or apply directly in the ocean. Runoff from agriculture can also be an important source of pollution.”

[23:09] “Kelp forests face a variety of threats. Climate change in general exacerbates El Nino events, also exacerbates winter storms, we are learning that it can be also related with marine heat waves, and […] ocean acidification. On the other hand, we have all these human induced threats, like overfishing, and even pollution. In general, we know that we are losing most of the kelp during El Nino events, especially intense El Nino events. And we used to think that the kelp forests are a very resilient ecosystem, but now we are learning that under different stressors, this can no longer be true.”

Rating: 💧💧💧

🎙️ Full Episode: Apple | Spotify | Google
🕰️ 40 min | 🗓️ 03/18/2022
✅ Time saved: 38 min