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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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The Structure, Function, and Abiotic Requirements of Giant Kelp

The Structure, Function, and Abiotic Requirements of Giant Kelp

(p.23) 2 The Structure, Function, and Abiotic Requirements of Giant Kelp
The Biology and Ecology of Giant Kelp Forests

David R. Schiel

Michael S. Foster

University of California Press

This chapter provides an overview of Macrocystis, commonly called giant kelp, but also known as giant bladder kelp, string kelp (Australia), huiro (Chile), and sargasso gigante (Mexico). Macrocystis is a genus of brown algae, a group characterized by its containing the accessory photosynthetic pigment fucoxanthin that gives them their characteristic color. “Kelp” originally referred to the calcined ashes resulting from burning large brown algae. It is sometimes used as the common name for all large brown algae, but particularly species in the order Laminariales. Macrocystis and its putative species have undergone considerable taxonomic revision since originally described in 1771 by Linnaeus, who included it with other brown algae under the name, Fucus pyriferus. More recent investigators examined plants as they grew in the field, and used holdfast morphology as the primary character to distinguish species. This resulted in three commonly recognized species: M. pyrifera, M. integrifolia, and M. angustifolia.

Keywords:   Macrocystis, giant kelp, brown algae, fucoxanthin, Laminariales, holdfast morphology, Fucus pyriferus, M. pyrifera, M. integrifolia, M. angustifolia

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