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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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Facilitative and Competitive Interactions in Giant Kelp Forests

Facilitative and Competitive Interactions in Giant Kelp Forests

(p.163) 7 Facilitative and Competitive Interactions in Giant Kelp Forests
The Biology and Ecology of Giant Kelp Forests

David R. Schiel

Michael S. Foster

University of California Press

This chapter discusses detached giant kelp communities. Kelp populations are exceptionally productive and an estimated 80% of the productivity ends up as detached detritus. Detritus from Macrocystis, moved by currents and wind, can be an important source of habitat, food, and nutrients for other communities and components within kelp forests. Much of this remains buoyant by floats on the blades and ends up either onshore or else drifting in currents and wind offshore where it may lose buoyancy and sink. Floating masses of giant kelp, often referred to as “rafts” or “paddles,” can be composed of a mix of their original associates from the kelp forest and new pelagic colonizers. The initial floating giant kelp community is composed of giant kelp and other plants, including some without floats that are attached to the holdfast or wrapped up in the raft. It also includes animals living in the holdfast and on the fronds.

Keywords:   detached giant kelp communities, detritus, Macrocystis, kelp forests, rafts, paddles, pelagic colonizers

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