Why in news?
According to research, Underwater Arctic Forests (Kelps) are expanding.
What are Kelp Forests?
- Kelps are large brown algae seaweeds attached to the seafloor and eventually grow to the water’s surface and rely on sunlight to generate food and energy.
- They are underwater forests that thrive well in cold, nutrient rich waters.
- They are always coastal and require shallow, relatively clear water.
- Kelp forests have been observed throughout the Arctic and the Canadian Arctic alone represents 10 percent of the world’s coastlines.
- They even grow under sea ice.
- Many fish species use kelp forests as nurseries for their young.
- Seabirds and marine mammals like sea lions, sea otters and even grey whales use them as shelter from predators and storms.
- Destructive fishing practices, coastal pollution and accidental damage caused by boat entanglement are known to negatively affect kelp forests.
- Sea urchins can destroy entire kelp forests by moving in herds whereas Sea otters play a key role in stabilizing Sea urchin populations so that kelp forests may thrive.