Northern California's undersea kelp forests decimated by purple sea urchins About 90 percent of the bull kelp forests, home to fish, crustaceans and … The red abalone is dying off as its food source—the California kelp forests—are decimated. Rising sea temperatures have already wiped out 100 kilometres of kelp forest along the south coast of Western Australia – and this unprecedented loss looks set to worsen. More than 90% of bull kelp and 96% of red abalone were lost along 217 miles of northern California coastline within just a few years. More than 90 percent of bull kelp and 96 percent of red abalone were lost along 217 miles of northern California coastline within just a few years. One third of southern California’s kelp forests are found within Channel Islands National Park and Channel Islands National Marine Sanctuary. Help the kelp. The 2014 marine heat wave brought the highest temperatures ever recorded in the area. 2016 The cause, sea stars, actually, the absence of sea stars. But as reported in Oceans Deeply they are not. Kelp is a type of seaweed (or marine algae) that describes 27 genera worldwide. Kelp forests grows quickly, up to 2 feet per day, have existed for tens of thousands of years and seem invincible. Today, our kelp forests are in serious trouble. California’s Vanishing Kelp Forests Aerial surveys of Northern California’s kelp forests show the extent of the kelp's decline before and after a marine heat wave. Some kelps form dense patches on rocky reefs resembling a forest of trees underwater and are referred to as kelp forests. Urchin Barrens! Editor's note: This article was updated on April 22, 2020, to correct information about the entity that released a kelp recovery plan. Though annually variable, in the past five years, California’s kelp forests have decreased by 93% of normal. Soon starfish began dying en masse from a mysterious illness that scientists believe is linked to the warming waters.. Purple sea urchins, ordinarily a prey of starfish, took advantage of the warm and safer waters to move into massive forests of kelp. Experts fear the die-off may be a sign of what’s to come. Higher sea surface temperatures in recent years have limited kelp growth, and sea star wasting disease has removed a key predator of purple sea urchins, a veracious eater of kelp. Tens of millions of voracious purple sea urchins that have already chomped their way through towering underwater kelp forests in California are spreading north to … Amazingly, in under five years the kelp forests off the coast of Northern California have diminished by over 90%. One third of southern California ’ s to come National Park and Channel National. One third of southern California ’ s kelp forests are found within Islands. 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