Subject: Destruction of kelp forests

Phil Colla (
Fri, 20 Feb 1998 19:35:57 -0800

>Are the kelp forests indirectly affected by the depletion of the ozone
>layer?  What are the main factors destroying the kelp forests (both
>naturally and by human intervention)?

They might be.  There may be SOME indirect affect of ozone
depletion on the health of kelp forests, but it might be quite small,
difficult to explain, and difficult to measure.  Perhaps it is related
to water temperature, carbon dioxide levels in the ocean, or some such
factor.  I don't know of any studies that attempt to explain kelp
forest health by examining factors such as ozone depletion, but there
may be some.

Negative factors include predation by urchins, weakening during winter
storms, and die off from warm summer water.  While each of these occurs
naturally, human actions may hasten their effects -- although the evidence
is NOT conclusive regardless of what the media may say.

Also, commercial kelp harvesting operations do affect the kelp beds, although
their impact is designed to have minimal short-term, and no long-term, effects
on the beds.

Phil Colla

Phil Colla,
Humpback Whales: