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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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Demography, Dispersal, and Connectivity of Populations

Demography, Dispersal, and Connectivity of Populations

(p.71) 4 Demography, Dispersal, and Connectivity of Populations
The Biology and Ecology of Giant Kelp Forests

David R. Schiel

Michael S. Foster

University of California Press

This chapter examines the abiotic environment of giant kelp. Macrocystis requires a hard substratum for settlement and attachment, water temperatures between about 4°C and 20°C, sea-bottom light intensities equivalent to 1% or greater than sea-surface irradiance, nitrate concentrations, oceanic salinities, and protection from extreme water motion. Macrocystis occupies much of the Pacific coast of California and Baja California, Mexico. It may be restricted by waters that are too warm or too low in nutrients, or severe water motion. Giant kelp forests flourish and are particularly well developed on outer coasts between depths of around 5 m and 20 m, beyond which sea-bottom light is often decreased for effective recruitment and growth. Macrocystis is usually absent from estuaries and far inside of protected bays because of a shortage of rocky substrata, increased sedimentation, and reduced light. Reduced salinity can also restrict Macrocystis in bays and other areas with large freshwater inputs.

Keywords:   abiotic environment, Macrocystis, substratum, water temperature, sea-bottom light intensity, nitrate concentration, oceanic salinity, water motion, sedimentation

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