The appalling consequences of climate change on our environment has been the key point of focus of many ecologists and conservationists. Though many of the effects are very prominent and terrifying enough to grab interest of people, there lies another millions of undiscovered adverse impacts which, is slowly yet steadily disturbing our ecosystem.
Considering the same, let us take a pick on how kelp forests, one of the most fascinating creatures of our world is adversely influenced by global warming and climate change.
The Story in Detail
Kelp forests are known across the globe for being the abode of a myriad of marine biodiversity. However, with the gradual warming up of oceans, they are rapidly getting wiped from the regions of Tasmania to California and replaced by the sea urchin barrens which, are devoid of life. The places which were once used to be covered by thick canopies have now almost wilted down in the nutrient-poor and unbearably warm water
The situation has further worsened with the role of sea urchins. A special species of sea urchins which, typically propels in warm water moved in and destroyed a substantial part of the underwater vegetation, thereby creating what we commonly know to be as urchin barrens. Urchin barrens are widely considered to be a distinct phenomenon in marine ecosystem. Once they are formed, they are able to persist for almost an indefinite period. Strikingly, almost 95% of the kelp forests of Tasmania are being vanished by now.
Similar happenings have taken place in the regions of Western Australia, Northern California and Southern Norway. In California, a bizarre menace which expunged large amounts of sea stars that feed on urchins result into the increase of urchin population, the major role player in the damage of kelp forests.
Many conservationists across the world have started taking effective initiatives for mitigating effects of climate change. In Tasmania, the strategy of increasing the population of predatory rock lobsters which primarily prey on sea urchins.
Coming next to California, the sea otters are known to ravenous predators of sea urchins and thus, they will certainly play a key role in restoring or protecting the life of kelp forests.
On a broader scenario, Kelp, being a contributory life species of our enriched biodiversity, also provide the source to sustenance to many other marine animals including Abalone, various commercially-beneficial urchin species and different types of fishes. Thus, devastation of kelp forests due to global warming and climate change will majorly lead to the disruption of the entire marine ecosystem, thereby, causing them prolonged, adverse impacts.