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The Biology and Ecology of Giant Kelp Forests$
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David R. Schiel and Michael S. Foster

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9780520278868

Published to California Scholarship Online: January 2016

DOI: 10.1525/california/9780520278868.001.0001

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Introduction to Giant Kelp Forests Worldwide

Introduction to Giant Kelp Forests Worldwide

(p.3) 1 Introduction to Giant Kelp Forests Worldwide
The Biology and Ecology of Giant Kelp Forests

David R. Schiel

Michael S. Foster

University of California Press

This introductory chapter provides an overview of the emergence of the study of giant kelp (Macrocystis) forests. In 1839, Charles Darwin published the first observations on the ecology of giant kelp forests, and made the first analogy between this community and terrestrial forests. However, it was around a hundred years after Darwin's observations in South America that the study of giant kelp forest ecology began. H. L. Andrews' pioneering research on the fauna of giant kelp holdfasts in 1945 included some underwater observations made during surface-supplied, hard-hat diving. The considerable amount of research and monitoring in the 69 years since Andrews' time has provided a more comprehensive view of the biology and ecology of giant kelp. Common aims of research have been to understand the environmental drivers underlying the great spatial and temporal variation in kelp forests, and the role of food web (trophic) dynamics in these fluctuations.

Keywords:   Macrocystis, giant kelp forests, Charles Darwin, terrestrial forests, H. L. Andrews, food web

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