Forests of 'extinct' Kelp are discovered
A U.S.-led research team has discovered forests of a species of kelp that had been believed either extinct or endangered.
A research team led by San Jose State University and the University of California-Santa Barbara found the kelp in deep waters near the Galapagos Islands.
The researchers said their discovery has important implications for biodiversity and the resilience of tropical marine systems to climate change.
Brian Kinlan, a researcher with UC-Santa Barbara’s Marine Science Institute, and SJSU Associate Professor Michael Graham developed a mathematical model designed to predict likely habitat for the kelp based on information from satellites and oceanographic instruments.
The premise of the model was developed by collaborator Louis Druehl of the Bamfield Marine Science Center, who surmised it was possible to create a predictive model for locating kelp forests rather than focusing on the limited details available from rare field observations.
The research team tested the model by traveling to the predicted habitat and found the kelp forests from 40 to 200 feet below the surface, making the mission a success.
The research is reported in the online issue of the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences. // Copyright 2007 by United Press International