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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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Predation and Trophic Cascades in Kelp Communities

Predation and Trophic Cascades in Kelp Communities

(p.197) 9 Predation and Trophic Cascades in Kelp Communities
The Biology and Ecology of Giant Kelp Forests

David R. Schiel

Michael S. Foster

University of California Press

This chapter discusses grazing, which is the major agent of loss of kelp second to water motion and natural senescence of fronds. A rich and diverse array of species makes their living feeding on kelp and kelp-derived detritus within most kelp forests, both directly and indirectly through the food web and trophic interactions. These interactions occur across many feeding types and up to five trophic levels, including primary producers, primary consumers, secondary consumers, and tertiary consumers. Primary consumers include grazers that feed directly on living attached algae, detritivores feeding on detached drift or litter material, and planktivores feeding on material produced in or imported into a kelp forest. Animals that feed on algae range in size from microscopic crustaceans and snails to large herbivorous fishes. By far, the most important grazers in almost all kelp forests worldwide are sea urchins, removing attached plants, and creating unforested patches largely devoid of all kelps and other macroalgae.

Keywords:   grazing, kelp loss, kelp-derived detritus, kelp forests, trophic interactions, primary consumers, grazers, detritivores, planktivores, sea urchins

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